Readout of the videoconference between Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans and China’s Special Envoy for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua


On 15 March Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans met online with Mr. Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Envoy for Climate Change. The two envoys held a constructive discussion on the next steps ahead of the crucial climate COP in Glasgow this year and on China’s 14th Five Year Plan, following its recent adoption.

Executive Vice-President Timmermans asked questions about the announced measures in the Five Year Plan, and how China plans to reach the targets of carbon neutrality by 2060 and peaking of emissions before 2030. In response to explanations by Special Envoy Xie, he indicated that the EU looks forward to seeing China’s specific climate-related plans in the coming months to understand better the relevant details.

The Executive Vice-President reiterated the EU’s support for a global phase-out of overseas coal investment and expressed hope that China could support the same objective. He also welcomed the launch of China’s national Emissions Trading System as an important tool to reduce GHG emissions in key sectors of the economy, and shared information about the upcoming EU legislative proposals to deliver on the at least 55% GHG emissions reduction target due in June 2021.

Finally, the Executive Vice-President stressed that strong leadership was required for successful meetings at UNFCCC COP26 and Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 to help resolve the climate and biodiversity crises.

Both the Executive Vice-President and the Special Envoy said they looked forward to their future exchanges and to engaging with other partners to achieve progress ahead of COP26 in Glasgow. The next opportunity will be the upcoming Ministerial meeting on Climate Action (MoCA) on 23 March, co-convened by China, the EU and Canada.