BRUSSELS—Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and top officials from the European Union were set Friday to reaffirm their commitment to a landmark climate change agreement, a day after President Donald Trump said he was pulling the United States out of the Paris accord.
Climate issues were expected to dominate discussions between Li, who is leading a large delegation of ministers to Brussels, and EU Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
Speaking to European business leaders alongside Li, Juncker said EU-China ties are underpinned by “a rules-based international system.”
Brussels and Beijing believe in “the full implementation, without nuances, of the Paris climate agreement,” Juncker said, and underlined that there can be “no backsliding” on the pact.
In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted that the U.S. withdrawal won’t prevent the rest of the world from pressing ahead with efforts to curb global warming.
“Nothing can and will stop us from doing so,” she said in a brief statement to reporters.
Merkel, whose country hosts this year’s international climate summit, said Trump’s decision was “extremely regrettable and that’s putting it very mildly.”
“It’s now necessary to look forward after last night’s announcement by the U.S. administration,” she said, adding that Europe’s biggest economy will continue to meet its obligations under the 2015 Paris accord.
At their short summit, the EU and China — two of the world’s major polluters — are set to reaffirm their stance on global warming.
According to a draft, they will express their determination “to forge ahead with further policies and measures for effective implementation of their respective nationally determined contributions.”
European heavyweights France, Germany and Italy said in a joint statement on Thursday that they regretted Trump’s decision to withdraw from the accord, while affirming their “strongest commitment” to implement its measures.
While Trump said the United States would be willing to rejoin the accord if it could obtain more favourable terms, the three European leaders said the agreement cannot be renegotiated, “since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economics.”
Germany’s environment minister underscored that Friday, saying “there will be no new deal with the United States” on climate change.
Barbara Hendricks told reporters in Berlin that other countries will fill the leadership vacuum left by the United States but none will be expected to make up the shortfall in emissions reductions caused by Washington’s exit.
She added that the global climate would “survive” Trump’s maximum presidential term of eight years.
Hendricks said the absence of $500 million contributions from the United States to the Green Climate Fund will be felt from 2018, but said it might be possible to fill the gap with “other financing mechanisms, for example through the World Bank.”