John Kerry, the United States’ special envoy for climate change, has arrived in China to revive efforts to combat global warming within weeks. record-setting temperature in the northern part of the world that scientists say is increasing due to climate change.
Kerry’s four-day tour, which began on Sunday, is followed by two other tours top US travel to China this year as the world’s greenhouse gas emitters work to mend relations strained by trade disputes, military conflicts and espionage allegations.
Starting Monday, “China and the United States will hold serious talks” on the climate issue, state broadcaster CCTV said during Kerry’s arrival in Beijing.
Discussions between the envoy and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua will focus on issues such as reducing methane emissions, reducing the use of coal, ending deforestation and helping poor countries deal with climate change.
Kerry and Xie, who have been on good terms for more than 20 years, will also talk. China’s objections to US tariffs and other restrictions on Chinese exports of solar panel and battery components, observers say.
Kerry is the third largest US citizen after him Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to visit China this year to try to reestablish a stable relationship between them.
The two countries say they need to work together on climate change despite some disagreements.
Li Shuo of Greenpeace in Beijing told Reuters that the planned talks showed climate change “is still a bridge to the world’s most important relationship”.
The resumption of US-China climate talks comes after the world’s hottest week, according to the World Meteorological Organization. June was already the hottest ever, according to US and European organizations.
Kerry wants to use his time in Beijing to cooperate with the Chinese authorities “in terms of increasing implementation and willingness and promoting a successful COP28”, the State Department said, referring to the climate negotiations of the United Nations in November.
About 200 countries will gather in the United Arab Emirates at COP28 to find ways to reduce global warming and its effects.
Negotiations between the US and China have a history of boosting global climate talks, including laying the groundwork for the 2015 Paris climate agreement, where governments agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
But major tensions have stalled the relationship since former US President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on Chinese goods such as solar panels, former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last year and a US ban on imports from the Xinjiang region. where. Washington believes that China uses coercion.
After Pelosi’s August trip to TaiwanThe island controlled by democratic China claims it as part of its territory, Beijing has said it will. suspending all negotiations with Washington on climate change. The two countries only resumed climate talks in November at the COP27 summit in Egypt.
Section in Washington, DC for sweeping Inflation Reduction Actwhose tariffs on domestic energy production aim to counter China’s dominance of the sector and revive US manufacturing, have added to the tensions.
And although China has added more energy than the rest of the world, it has also created a strong return to coal – a major concern in Washington. In 2022, China issued the most new licenses for coal plants since 2015, according to the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) and the Global Energy Monitor (GEM).
Byford Tsang, E3G’s chief climate policy advisor, said there are a number of factors that are “putting pressure on energy planners in Beijing at the moment”. These include major disruptions in the global natural gas market due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and reductions in hydropower capacity in China following severe droughts in recent years.
Last summer, millions of people in southwestern China experienced power cuts after a heat wave forced factories to shut down, fueling domestic concerns about power security.
“I think it would be politically difficult for China to go ahead with the coal policy at this time,” Tsang told AFP.
During his visit, Kerry is also expected to bring up international efforts on the economy, following Yellen’s call during her trip from Beijing to China to participate in the UN-run. funds to help poor countries dealing with climate change.
China, which considers itself a developed country, has refused.
“I can’t predict the outcome of these meetings, but my hope is that they will restore cooperation and dialogue,” said David Sandalow, director of the US-China program at the Center on Global Energy Policy.