US envoy urges China to cooperate on emission cuts

US envoy urges China to cooperate on emission cuts


US climate chief John Kerry called on Sunday in Beijing after meeting his Chinese counterpart at COP27 in Egypt to “accelerate progress together” on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Kerry and Xie Zhenhua met during the UN summit in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, after US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to cooperate in the fight against at a G20 summit in Indonesia last week restart climate change.

Beijing called off talks in August amid anger over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Cooperation between the superpowers is key in the fight against global warming and has led to breakthroughs at previous UN climate conferences, most notably the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement.

“The climate crisis is fundamentally a global – not bilateral – issue,” Kerry said in a statement.

“The United States and China should be able to accelerate progress together, not just for us but for future generations,” Kerry added.

“All nations have an interest in the decisions China makes in this critical decade… We all hope China lives up to its global responsibilities.”

Xie described his conversations with Kerry as “open, friendly, positive” and “overall very constructive.”

“We have agreed that after this COP we will continue formal talks, including face-to-face meetings,” he told reporters on Saturday.

But he also highlighted lingering differences with Western nations and dismissed the idea that China should no longer be considered a developing country, even though it is now the world’s second largest economy.

This distinction in status is crucial: Under the terms of a core 1992 UN climate agreement, developed countries are to provide financial support to developing countries in their energy transitions and efforts to build resilience to climate impacts.

– ‘Big Result’ –

The issue was at the center of a contentious debate at COP27 over the creation of a ‘Loss and Damage’ fund to compensate poorer countries already devastated by the effects of global warming.

Kerry called the groundbreaking agreement on funding to help vulnerable countries deal with the devastating effects of global warming “one of the key findings” of the conference.

The US envoy had tested positive for Covid-19 during the summit and was self-isolating as negotiations concluded on Sunday.

A final COP27 statement, covering the broad spectrum of efforts to deal with a warming planet, kept the line on the ambitious target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

According to Kerry, this goal can be achieved by “delivering real projects and using real dollars to accelerate the energy transition”.

“Investments in clean energy and infrastructure will help countries everywhere meet stronger climate targets by lowering the cost of clean technologies.”

He said Washington and other governments would “step up” funding to support the green transition and pointed to several initiatives launched before and during COP27.

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard announced a $48 billion renewable energy investment program with the United States in Sharm el-Sheikh last week to step up efforts to reduce emissions.

Also during the summit, Kerry launched a partnership with private funds aimed at supporting the transition to renewable energy in developing countries based on a carbon credit system.

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