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Climate Action
News announcement4 July 2023Directorate-General for Climate Action2 min read

Readout of the Fourth EU-China High-Level Environment and Climate Dialogue


On 4 July 2023, Executive Vice-President (EVP) of the European Commission Frans Timmermans and First Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China Ding Xuexiang held the fourth China-EU High Level Dialogue on Environment and Climate (HECD) in Beijing to deepen cooperation on the global green transition. Both sides agreed that green is the distinctive colour of EU-China cooperation, following up on the visit of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to China earlier this year.

The EU and China are joining forces in tackling the triple crises of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss, which pose an existential threat to humanity on this planet., EVP Timmermans stated. Looking ahead to the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 28) in Dubai in December, he added “Large emitters, such as the EU and China, must lead and build global consensus both in terms of increasing climate ambition aligned with the 1.5°C degree temperature limit, and ensuring implementation of existing commitments.”

In relation to the implementation of the Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) EVP Timmermans highlighted that “China and the EU should continue showing leadership in the implementation of this historic Agreement. The Global Biodiversity Framework needs to deliver change and we need to align our domestic and external policies to it.  The EU and China will work together to keep the momentum high towards the Biodiversity COP16 “.

During the HECD, environment and climate priorities were discussed in terms of domestic implementation, and bilateral and multilateral cooperation. Both the EU and China outlined their frameworks for green growth, namely the European Green Deal and its legislation as well as the Chinese 1+N policy framework.

They discussed further avenues for cooperation on climate mitigation, including methane, adaptation, the green energy transition and its socio-economic challenges, the circular economy, water, pollution and biodiversity, deforestation and wildlife trafficking. In carrying out this cooperation, both sides proposed to coordinate at multiple levels and across governmental departments.  

The EU and China agreed that domestic implementation efforts would need to be extended and amplified in order to effectively address the triple planetary crises facing us.

EVP Timmermans especially highlighted the importance of effective carbon markets that lead to clear and cost-effective decreases of emissions, as showcased by the decoupling of emissions and economic growth in Europe.  The EU and China have agreed to intensify cooperation on emissions trading, based on the 2018 Memorandum of Understanding between the European Commission and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the People’s Republic of China.

The EVP also highlighted the opportunity of generating sustainable growth by stepping up cooperation on the circular economy. In this area, both sides agreed on the implementation of the 2018 Memorandum of Understanding on circular economy cooperation, and agreed that the first High Level Dialogue on Circular Economy will be held on the occasion of Commissioner Sinkevicius’ visit to China in September 2023.The two sides noted their satisfaction with other existing bilateral dialogues and cooperation, for example in the area of climate modelling and water.

The EU and China also reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring a successful COP28, that must seize the first Global Stocktake as an opportunity to enable progress in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. The EU stands ready to undertake joint efforts together with China to contribute to this success, particularly during the upcoming Ministerial on Climate Action on 13-14 July, jointly co-chaired by the EU, China and Canada.


Publication date
4 July 2023
Directorate-General for Climate Action