3rd CHERN Distinguished Lecture on Global China

On May 20th, the CHERN Online Series started its 3rd cycle of events with a lecture by Dr Janka Oertel, Director of the Asia Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

Climate superpowers: How the EU and China can compete and cooperate for a green future

Since 2019, when the European Union adopted a three-sided approach to China defining the country simultaneously as a partner, competitor and systemic rival the public debate has often identified global crises such as climate policy and the containment of the coronavirus pandemic as areas of cooperation. In her lecture, Dr Janka Oertel argues that the broad notion of “partnership” no longer reflects the true complexity of the EU’s interactions with China in tackling global warming. Climate change is not just the most important global challenge that requires concerted efforts. Instead, as climate action becomes more material to economic interests, Europe and China will both increasingly compete and cooperate with each other, against the backdrop of an overarching systemic rivalry. To successfully manage this new reality, the EU and its member states will have to clearly define benchmarks and red lines for credible climate action, to set the framework for cooperation. At the same time, they will need to invest in future competitiveness, especially in the green technology needed to compete for markets, standards, and influence in a low-carbon world. After all, climate action is not just about a global public good but turns into a central angle of global economic competition.

Dr Oertel is the Director of the Asia Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations. She previously worked as a Senior Fellow in the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States’ Berlin office, where she focused on transatlantic China policy including on emerging technologies, Chinese foreign policy and security in East Asia. Prior to joining GMF, she served as a program director at Körber Foundation’s Berlin office.

She holds a PhD from the University of Jena. Her dissertation focused on Chinese policies within the United Nations. She was a visiting fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP Berlin) and worked at United Nations Headquarters, New York, as a Carlo-Schmid-Fellow. She has published widely on topics related to EU-China relations, US-China relations, security in the Asia-Pacific region, Chinese foreign policy, 5G and emerging technologies as well as climate cooperation.

The event took place on Zoom on May 20, 2021

The lecture was followed by an hour-long Q&A which focused on topics that are key for working toward a better China-Europe understanding. CHERN WG2 leader Tim Rühlig, Research Fellow at The Swedish Institute of International Affairs, moderated the event.

See a recording of the lecture:

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