As the world continues to warm, China and EU meet for climate talks

BEIJING: Global temperature records are now being broken almost every month and the warning signs are clear, that the world is getting hotter. Millions in the U.S. are facing a “dangerous” heat wave. Parts of India and Europe are battling extreme heat and China is experiencing both heavy rains and scorching temperatures.

A woman uses a shirt to shelter herself from the sun as she walks near the Colosseum amid a heatwave in Rome, Italy. /Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters

A woman uses a shirt to shelter herself from the sun as she walks near the Colosseum amid a heatwave in Rome, Italy. 

According to the World Meteorological Organization’s annual report, there’s an 80 percent chance that the global temperature will, on average, exceed 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels for at least one of the next five years.

A submerged toy car is seen at the patio of a flooded house following heavy rains, in Mexico. /Jose Torres/Reuters

A submerged toy car is seen at the patio of a flooded house following heavy rains, in Mexico.

“What is clear is that the Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees C is hanging on a thread. It’s not yet dead, but it’s hanging by a thread. The Paris Agreement target refers to long-term temperature increases over decades, not over a month, not over a year, or even over five years,” said Ko Barrett, the WMO’s Deputy Secretary-General.

Smoke billows from a field which caught fire on a hot summer day during a heatwave in New Delhi. /Anushree Fadnavis/ Reuters

Smoke billows from a field which caught fire on a hot summer day during a heatwave in New Delhi. /Anushree Fadnavis/ Reuters

Against this backdrop China and the European Union have held a 5th environment and climate dialogue. The two sides last convened in Beijing last July and this is the first time such an event has been held in Brussels, where the majority of EU institutions are based.

“The Chinese side highly values environmental protection and climate response. We’re committed to a path prioritizing ecological conservation as well as green and low carbon development,” said Chinese Vice Premier, Ding Xuexiang, at a roundtable at the start of proceedings.

The meeting comes amid rising trade tensions between China and the EU. Beijing says the EU’s move to impose additional tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles isn’t conducive with the bloc’s green transformation.

The EU meanwhile says it wants a level playing field. But, during the meetings this week, both sides called for great cooperation in the fight against climate change.

“We are facing multiple planetary crises that recognize no borders and therefore our cooperation in this regard is extremely important,” said Maroš Šefčovič, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission.

 Heatwaves have impacted crops across the world in. /Nicoco Chan/Reuters

Heatwaves have impacted crops across the world in. /Nicoco Chan/Reuters

China and the EU have pledged to expand mutual learning in fields such as green energy and the control of plastic pollution.

Analysts say global collaboration is crucial to address a truly global threat. “There is no body to govern individual countries so it has to be a mutual agreement between nations,” said Adrien Assous, Executive-Director of the climate change focused think tank, Sandbag.

Last month was the warmest May on record and it’s a trend climate scientists expect to continue. In addressing this shared threat, delegates during the talks said that green should be the color of cooperation.

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