EU chief challenges US on climate and asserts Brussels’ role in ‘new international order’

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Von der Leyen said, “This climate and economic leadership is central to Europe’s global and security objectives. It also reflects a vast change in world affairs at a time of transition to a new international order.”

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“We are entering a new era of hyper-competition. An era in which some stop at nothing to gain influence: from vaccine promises and high-interest loans to missiles and misinformation.”

He announced an additional €4 billion ($4.7 billion) in climate finance to move to developing countries by 2027, calling on the United States and other bloc allies to “step up” and begin paying their fair share. Of.
Developed countries agreed more than a decade ago, and reaffirmed in the 2015 Paris Agreement $100 billion by 2020 to assist developing countries in their greening and adapt to the effects of climate change. be transferred annually.

Collectively, the world missed that deadline last year. The US in particular has been criticized for not moving anything during the four years of the Trump administration.

“Team Europe contributes €25 billion annually. But others still leave a gaping hole to reach the global target. So closing that gap will increase the chances of success in Glasgow,” von der Leyen said, United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26, scheduled for November.

“But we expect the United States and our allies to step up as well,” she said. “This is important because closing the climate finance gap together, the US and EU will be such a strong signal to global climate leadership, and it is time to deliver. We don’t have time to wait any longer.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gives a speech during her State of the Union address in Strasbourg, France, on Wednesday.

The Biden administration has said it would double the level of climate finance transferred to the Obama administration’s second term, which averaged about $2.8 billion, but critics – including climate activists from China and the developing world – say it should More needs to be done to make up for the four years without any finances during the Trump years.

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Von der Leyen also cited the EU’s climate roadmap, known as the European Green Deal, as a model, calling on other countries to come to COP26 with similar detailed plans.

“You’ve seen the complexity of the expansion, but the goal is simple. We’ll put a price on pollution,” she said.

“We will clean the energy we use. We will have smarter cars and clean airplanes, and we will make sure that higher climate ambition comes with greater social ambition, because it should be a fair, green transition.”

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He also took aim at Chinese officials, urging them to push their country’s emissions to peak by the middle of this decade. Beijing has said it plans to peak its emissions “before 2030”. China has also promised carbon neutrality by 2060.

“Every country has a responsibility. The goals that President Xi achieves [Jinping] What has been determined for China is encouraging, but we ask the same leadership to determine how China will get there,” he said.

“The world would be relieved if they showed they could peak emissions by the middle of the decade, and move away from coal at home and abroad.”

Western climate leaders, including US special climate envoy John Kerry, are pressing Beijing to reach peak emissions before the end of the decade.

According to a study by climate energy and research group Ember, the country is the largest consumer of coal in the world, and in 2020, it produced more than half of the world’s total coal-fired electricity.

compete with china

In his speech, von der Leyen listed the EU’s achievements during the year, including vaccinating 70% of its adult population against COVID-19, while donating more shots than other countries, about 700 million. , to the Global South.

It announced plans to donate 200 million more vaccine doses by the middle of 2022, in addition to the 250 million already pledged.

And on the situation in Afghanistan, it announced an additional €100 million for humanitarian efforts there, warning of the risk of famine if aid does not reach people inside the country.

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The EU will begin moving to improve its competitiveness with China on infrastructure through a “global gateway” to rival China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative – which covers more than 140 countries in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas. Spread over more countries – with a number of projects, ranging from roads to airports and railways, as well as energy facilities.

China’s projects have enabled Beijing to exert greater geopolitical influence in many parts of the world. In June the G7 nations backed a proposal by US President Joe Biden to create an initiative to counter the Belt and Road.

Von der Leyen said, “We will build Global Gateway partnerships with countries around the world. We seek investment in quality infrastructure to connect goods, people and services around the world.” “We want to create links and not dependencies.”

And to better compete with both China and the US in digital technology, von der Leyen announced a draft law to make blocks self-sufficient in semiconductors such as chips, to reduce dependence on suppliers abroad.

“The aim is to create a cutting-edge European chip ecosystem, including joint production. This ensures our security of supply and will develop new markets for unprecedented European technology.”

On defence, von der Leyen said the EU was too dependent on the US and the bloc needed to strengthen its own forces, announcing a defense summit co-organized by French President Emmanuel Macron. The European Union has previously debated creating its own defense force.

“The more fundamental issue is, why hasn’t it worked in the past? You can have the most advanced forces in the world but if you’re never ready to use them, what do they use?” he said.

“What has held us back so far is not just a lack of capacity, it is a lack of political will.”


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