The EU and US agree on how to fight climate change – but how?
The European Union and the US have agreed on how they will combat climate change, pledging to put in place new regulations and measures aimed at tackling the effects of global warming.
The leaders also agreed to extend a “common strategy” for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, known as the Paris Agreement, which has helped the world to meet the goals of the deal.
The meeting in Brussels came as the US and European countries pushed back against claims by China that the Paris deal had left it in the dark about the impacts of its emissions.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US would continue to fight the deal, even if other countries were not.
“We have a great deal of flexibility in the Paris Accord, including our flexibility to pursue actions that we believe will achieve the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees,” Mr Tillerson said.
“So we are going to continue to take actions that will achieve that.”
China and other developing nations had accused the US of stalling on climate action to protect its industry.
“US is still the biggest polluter in the world and we don’t need the US to continue burning fossil fuels,” said Wang Yi, a vice-president of the China National Petroleum Corporation.
Mr Tillerson also criticised Chinese leader Xi Jinping for failing to do more to combat air pollution.
“The climate crisis is not going away and we have to be able to protect the environment,” he said.
Climate change is a threat to everyone, he said, but the United States and the European Union needed to act now.
China and the United Kingdom are among the world’s biggest polluters.
The Paris Agreement was signed in 2015 and aims to limit global warming by cutting emissions of greenhouse gases.
The US is the biggest emitter, followed by the European countries.
The agreement was signed by more than 100 nations and has brought emissions down by nearly half since it was first signed in 1993.
But the agreement faces some growing international resistance.
China has launched a legal challenge against the agreement, accusing the United Nations of stifling China’s growth and stifling domestic debate.
“China and the EU are still the big polluters in the global economy,” Mr Wang said.
The countries also agreed on more measures to help tackle the effects on local communities of climate change.
US President Donald Trump’s administration has not yet responded to the announcement.
The presidents also agreed that the US will continue to pursue its own ambitious environmental agenda, including a plan to triple the number of offshore wind turbines to 20,000 by 2026.
The plans are backed by more countries than ever before.
China will also launch a pilot program to use solar power for energy storage, which will help power grid operators, and plans to deploy solar energy on some of the world`s largest dams.
China plans to install a solar-power plant in New York, which would be the first such facility in the US.