It’s time for climate competition with China

Roderick Kefferpütz
7 min readJan 19, 2022
»China Dragon Boat competition« picture: Samuel Wong. Licence: Public Domain

The European Union has long considered China a partner in mitigating climate change.

After all, this is a global issue that requires all countries to curb their greenhouse gas emissions. As the world’s largest emitter, this holds particularly true for China. Cooperation has therefore been the defining prism of EU-China climate relations. During this time, there have been notable successes: Besides being a party to the Paris Climate Agreement, China has announced to no longer build and finance new coal-fired power plants abroad, it has issued an action plan to peak its carbon emissions by 2030 and pledged to reach carbon neutrality by 2060.

These new carbon milestones are leading EU-China climate relations into a new phase.

Climate cooperation alone may have run its course. Climate competition should increasingly define the EU’s policy towards China. Two factors impel Brussels to embark on such an approach.

First, China remains a climate risk

It is no longer about getting Beijing to sign up to climate targets. It’s about getting Beijing to increase its ambition and implement the necessary measures. Not only is China the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, but at present it is also…



Roderick Kefferpütz

Advisor and Writer on the changing geopolitical and economic world order. ( )