Mayors from China and EU discuss new approach to EU-China cooperation on climate change

Dialogue between European and Chinese cities highlights opportunities for cities to address the climate crisis and accelerate a green and inclusive recovery from COVID-19.

The mayors of Heidelberg and the vice mayors of Guangzhou, Lisbon and Nanjing were joined by Frans Timmermans, European Commission Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal and Co-chair, Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, Zhang Jian, Executive Vice Dean, Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development at Tsinghua University, and C40 Chair - Eric Garcetti.

24 March 2021 - European and Chinese city leaders discussed today their shared commitment to address the climate crisis and COVID19 recovery, in bilateral EU-China dialogue. This meeting is an attempt between European and Chinese city leaders to explore a local approach to the renewed sino-european bilateral cooperation since the EU and China announced their latest climate targets.

The mayors discussed mutual objectives and challenges for rebuilding cities and economies in a way that improves public health, creates jobs, reduces inequality and accelerates the delivery of ambitious climate action in line with the EU Green Deal and China’s 14th Five Year Plan. They shared experiences and ideas to accelerate building renovation programmes, champion clean construction, use innovation and technology to improve energy efficiency as well as the future of urban mobility to make city streets greener, healthier and more people-friendly.

The mayors discussed how cities are on the frontline of the climate crisis and COVID-19 pandemic. They committed to mutual efforts to ensure a green and inclusive recovery and to deliver their 2030 and net-zero emission targets in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

The dialogue was organised by C40 Cities and the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development of Tsinghua University with support from the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy. The mayoral session was followed by two technical knowledge sharing discussions, including representatives of Barcelona, Beijing, Copenhagen, Hangzhou, Heidelberg, Nanjin, Rotterdam, Shanghai, Qingdao, focused on policy areas critical to a green and inclusive recovery: building efficiency and green transport.

Quotes:

“Cities are at the forefront of climate action. Mayors are the level of government closest to citizens and no matter where they are, they face similar questions. So we hope to help more cities in China and Europe work together. “ - Frans Timmermans, European Commission Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal and Co-chair, Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy

"Heidelberg has cooperated with Chinese cities for many years, including on economic and scientific policies with our partner city Hangzhou, on waste management and energy efficiency with Urumqui, on passive-house districts with Gaobeidian - who even named theirs after Heidelberg’s Bahnstadt - and more recently, Nanjing helped provide 15,000 masks to our healthcare institutions. Our experience is that both sides have a lot to learn from one another and that Sino-German relations - including those on which this meeting is based - form an excellent starting point to ensure a green and inclusive recovery." - Prof. Dr. Eckart Würzner, Lord Mayor of Heidelberg 

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