US and China “Unstick” Climate Talks Amid Record Heatwave

John Kerry, a US climate envoy, traveled to Beijing to relaunch discussions on coal. Methane, and john kerry beijing us climate change challenges.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang and U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Change John Kerry participate in a meeting in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. China, on July 18, 2023.

US climate envoy John Kerry met with Chinese counterparts this week as temperatures in the Chinese capital rose beyond 35C (95F) in an effort to “unstick” climate negotiations that were put on hold last year due to the sovereignty of Taiwan.

As a sign of improving relations. Kerry met with foreign minister Wang Yi and China’s second-most powerful man. Premier Li Qiang, after a late-night conversation with his colleague, john kerry beijing us climate change Xie Zhenhua.

Expectations were low because of the overall adversarial relationship between the US and China. But experts cautiously lauded the visit as a success.

Li Shuo of Greenpeace East Asia described it as “an crucial step. What will be a challenging rescue operation,” and Thom Woodroofe of the Asia Society saw it as a “modest win.”

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One of several heatwaves now affecting the northern hemisphere was shattering records in China as officials met in Beijing. In some places in the arid Northwest of the nation, temperatures reached 52C. (125,96F).

According to a research by the UN panel of climate scientists. Heatwaves have intensified in recent decades as a result of the climate problem, particularly in cities.

Before Cop28 in November, the US and China are currently plan two additional meetings. They will discuss issues like reducing methane emissions and better integrating China’s burgeoning renewable industry into its coal-dominated electric system.

But, the Chinese government issueda warning that the discussions might yet be deraile by tensions over Taiwan. Climate negotiations “cannot be separate,” according to China official media.

Renewable Energy to Coal

After the first day of discussions. Kerry underlined “the challenges of coal and methane pollution” as the objectives for collective climate action.

He commended China’s expansion of renewable energy capacity john kerry beijing us climate change during a news conference at the conclusion of his visit, but he also stated that the US believes China has more coal power plants than it requires.

According to him, the two parties would talk about “scaling and integrating renewable energy into the power sector to be able to cut coal emissions.”

China is implementing renewable energy quickly. China will install more solar energy this year than the US has ever installed.

Yet, due of unresolve paperwork and bureaucracy, the percentage of China’s electricity that is generate by these renewable sources is expanding far more slowly.

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The US has made tackling methane, a particularly potent greenhouse gas released by fossil fuel infrastructure, farms, and landfills, a top priority since the election of US president Joe Biden.

China has not partnered with the US- and EU-led initiatives to cut methane emissions. The government has been working on its own methane reduction strategy for a while now, but it has not yet made public.

Kerry stated that future conversations on adding methane in climate efforts would take place.

U.S. Embargo on Chinese Panels

The US’s tariffs on Chinese solar panels, which have hampered the expansion of solar energy in the USA, are a priority for the Chinese side.

John Kerry Beijing us Climate Change

Kerry said the matter “was raise with me” and that he will convey that worry to the appropriate ministers to a reporter from the state-run China Central Television.

The US and other wealthy nations “should take the lead in cutting emissions and fulfill their financial pledges as quickly as possible,” according to a state media report on Kerry’s meeting with Li Qiang.

Wealthy countries have collectively failed to fulfill their commitment to provide $100 billion annually to developing nations to fund climate programs by 2020, with the US bearing the most of the blame.

Volatile Few Years

Shortly after he was elect in November 2020, US President Joseph Biden named Kerry as his climate ambassador. Three months later, Zhenhua was summoned out of retirement to serve as China’s president Xi Jinping’s climate envoy.

Due to the long-standing and cordial connection between the two men, the selections were seen as increasing the likelihood that the two sides could cooperate on climate john kerry beijing us climate change change, as they did under the Obama administration to bring about the Paris Agreement in 2015.

John Kerry Beijing us Climate Change

These hopes were further raised at the end of 2021 when the two sides announced an unified climate agreement at the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow, following a number of virtual and in-person encounters. All parties agreed to talk on ways to lower methane emissions.

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Kerry criticized China’s response, describing it as “both disappointing and foolish,” by calling off the climate negotiations. Officials from both sides engaged in public Twitter fights over respective climate records rather than working together.

A few months later in November, tensions calmed after Biden and Xi had a productive discussion on the margins of the G20 in Indonesia. Their climate teams, who were both attending Cop27 in Egypt at the time, were allowed to resume formal discussions after they had decided to collaborate on the issue of climate change.

Following that encounter, the US declared that Anthony Blinken, its senior diplomat, will visit China. After the US military shot down a Chinese balloon in US airspace in February, the journey was postponed; however, it was eventually held in June.

Tension persists

Kerry’s visit, though, wasn’t without controversy. China is not a developing country, according to US national security adviser Jake Sullivan, and the international community should “push China to take considerably more significant measures to decrease its emissions.”

The president of China, Xi Jinping, stated at a conference today that while China is “unwavering” in its commitment to its climate targets, the country must choose its own course and speed in order to achieve its goals.

About Peter James

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