Macron says Europe-China climate cooperation ‘decisive’

China’s President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron during the China International Import Expo in Shanghai on november 5, 2019. (File/AFP)
Updated 05 November 2019

Macron says Europe-China climate cooperation ‘decisive’

  • The 2015 Paris climate agreement encourages countries to make stronger pledges if they are able to do so
  • China and France pledged at this year’s G20 summit to “update” their contributions against climate change

SHANGHAI: Cooperation between Europe and China on reducing climate-warming emissions will be “decisive,” French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday, after the Trump administration filed paperwork to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement.

The US move is the first formal step in a one-year process to exit the global pact to fight climate change, part of a broader strategy by Trump to reduce red tape on American industry.

But it comes at a time scientists and many world governments are urging rapid action to avoid the worst impacts of global warming.

China and France pledged at this year’s G20 summit to “update” their contributions against climate change beyond their current ones to reflect “their highest possible ambition.”

The 2015 Paris climate agreement encourages countries to make stronger pledges if they are able to do so.

Speaking in Shanghai at a major trade fair, just after a keynote address by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Macron said commitments will need to be enhanced.

“If we want to be in compliance with the Paris agreement, we will need next year to enhance our commitments to reduce emissions, and we must confirm new commitments for 2030 and 2050,” he said.

“The cooperation between China and the European Union in this respect is decisive,” Macron added. “Next year, we need, in the agenda of enhancement, to be collectively up to the task.”

Speaking to reporters earlier, a French presidential office official expressed regret at the US move, and said Macron and Xi will reaffirm their commitment to the Paris agreement.

“We regret this and this only makes the Franco-Chinese partnership on the climate and biodiversity more necessary,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.

“The text that will be signed tomorrow includes a paragraph on the irreversibility of the Paris agreement.”

Macron and Xi are due to hold a formal meeting in Beijing on Wednesday.

China aims to bring emissions to a peak by “around 2030” and raise the share of non-fossil fuels in its total energy mix to 20 percent by the end of the next decade, up from 15 percent in 2020.

The United States is the first country to say it will withdraw from the deal, but 10 other countries have failed to ratify it, including Turkey, Iran and Iraq.


India sends 36 ministers to restive Kashmir on charm offensive

Updated 25 min 25 sec ago

India sends 36 ministers to restive Kashmir on charm offensive

  • Ministers are on a five-day outreach mission to connect with people in the valley
  • The ministers’ visit follows a New Delhi-sponsored trip of 15 foreign ambassadors

NEW DELHI: India has dispatched dozens of ministers to its portion of the Kashmir region to promote government projects and development following months of unrest in the area.

Last August New Delhi revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, imposing a security crackdown and a communications blackout. It is India’s only Muslim-majority state and scrapping its semi-independence was the central government’s bid to integrate it fully with India and rein in militancy.

Prepaid mobile and Internet services have been restored although most of the valley remains without the Internet. Landline and post-paid mobile services were restored last month. 

The 36 ministers are on a five-day outreach mission to connect with people in the valley, with media reports saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the delegation “to spread the message of development among the people, not only in the urban areas but also in the villages of the valley.”

He was also reported as asking them to tell people about central government schemes that will have grassroot benefits.

The ministers’ visit follows a New Delhi-sponsored trip of 15 foreign ambassadors to the region.

Jammu-based ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo said the ministerial trip tied in with New Delhi’s development agenda.

“The ministers will interact with local-level representatives and stakeholders, and discuss the plan for the development of Jammu and Kashmir,” he told Arab News. “Kashmir cannot go back to the old ways. There are no political issues that remain here, all have been sorted out by parliament by abolishing Article 370, division of the state and neutralization of separatist elements.”

But India’s opposition Congress party said the visit was an attempt to “mislead and misguide” the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“This is a third attempt to mislead and misguide the people of the world, Jammu and Kashmir and India. They are coming here for a third time to tell lies,” Congress leader and the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam, Nabi Azad, said.

Dr. Radha Kumar, from the Delhi Policy Group, said that a development agenda would not work without addressing the political issue.

“With all the unilateral decisions to abrogate the special status of the state, arresting all the mainstream leaders and putting the state in a lockdown, how are the government’s actions so far going to establish credibility and legitimacy in the eyes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir?” Kumar told Arab News. “I think this visit is more for international consumption than anything else.”

Dr. Siddiq Wahid, a Kashmiri intellectual and academic, called the visit a “clear sign” that New Delhi had no idea what to do.

“No matter how many ministers you send to Jammu and Kashmir it’s not going to alter the ground situation, it’s not going to address the issue of alienation,” he told Arab News. “What issues will they talk about with people? The government lost the people’s trust long ago.”

The Himalayan region has experienced turmoil and violence for decades. It is claimed in full by both India and Pakistan, which have gone to war twice over it, and both rule parts of it. India’s portion has been plagued by separatist violence since the late 1980s.

Jammu-based Zafar Choudhary, a senior journalist and editor of The Dispatch newspaper, said Modi’s government was full of surprises. “There have never been so many surprises in Jammu and Kashmir as have come in the last two years,” he told Arab News. “There is no instance in the past when so many central ministers have visited a state in one go.”

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