The European Union and China will issue a statement Friday declaring climate change "an imperative more than ever" in the face of expected U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.
A final draft statement seen by E&E News, prepared for a meeting Friday, is the first-ever bilateral agreement on climate change between the European Union and China. It will be backed by all 28 E.U. member states, including the United Kingdom.
The draft also called the Paris Agreement a "historic achievement" and "proof that with shared political will and mutual trust, multilateralism can succeed in building fair and effective solutions to the most critical global problems of our time." President Trump's national populism has been seen as a rebuke to post-World War II multilateralism.
It comes amid reports that Trump plans to withdraw the United States from participation in the agreement among nearly 200 nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The administration also is reportedly considering pulling the United States out of the underlying U.N. framework calling on nations to address climate change globally.
The European Union in the draft reaffirmed its commitment to the joint developed-world pledge to mobilize at least $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poor countries cope with the impacts of global warming.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has exchanged barbs with Trump in the days since last weekend's Group of Seven summit ended in division over Paris and trade issues, is meeting today with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. The two are expected to make a statement of their own.
Li Shuo, senior global policy adviser for Greenpeace in East Asia, said the E.U.-China pact is a direct response to the Trump administration, which has single-handedly dismantled the bilateral relationship that the United States and China forged throughout the Obama years.
"The moment when Trump announces the Paris pull-out will mark the divorce of [the] U.S.-China climate relationship and the beginning of a reinvigorated partnership between China and the E.U.," he said.