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Changing Climates


EU-China Interdependencies

Europe and China are the world’s largest market and the world’s fastest-growing economy respectively. They account for around 30% of global energy consumption and 30% of global emissions. With growing global shared risks and economic interdependence from the consequences of climate change, it is in the interest of major economies to increase their cooperation in tackling these challenges.

In taking joint leadership, Europe and China can harness the power of globalisation to achieve a mutually secure, efficient and low-carbon economy, and position themselves to benefit from the economic and technological opportunities it presents.

In 2007, E3G initiated the project Changing Climates. Drawing on research by European and Chinese research institutes, it identified concrete policy options to strengthen the foundation for engagement on energy and climate security between China and the EU over the next 25 years. Documents from this project are available in both Chinese and English.

Near-term and medium-term opportunities were found at both local and national levels, based around five shared strategic priorities:

  • Avoiding lock-in to high-carbon and inefficient technologies as both Europe and China will invest trillions of Euros in the coming decades in long-lived power-sector, infrastructure and building investment.
  • Reducing dependency on declining liquid fossil fuels through combined efforts on low-carbon and sustainable alternative energy sources and transport modes, and increased efficiency standards.
  • Improving the resilience of China and Europe to respond to the impacts of climate change, by building up their strategic capability in preparation for future water stress, shifting agricultural zones, loss of ecosystem services and extreme weather events.
  • Leading the technology race by constructing linked innovation systems in Europe and China and placing innovation at the heart of energy policy, and energy policy at the heart of innovation.
  • Capturing gains through trade and investment by liberating and harnessing the market power of both regions to lower costs and widen markets for new technologies, and to set global standards for the new efficient and low-carbon energy economy.

Project support came from the UK Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for International Development (DfID) as well as the Open Society Foundation.

The Steering Committee for this initiative comprised of representatives from Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs), E3G (Third Generation Environmentalism), the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), the Chinese Energy Research Institute (ERI), the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research (PIK).



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