US special envoy for climate John Kerry attends a news conference in Paris. File/AP
US climate envoy John Kerry is in talks in China on Thursday ahead of President Joe Biden’s climate summit of world leaders.
China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment said the discussions in Shanghai running through Saturday aim to boost cooperation on climate change and exchange views on the UN Climate Change Conference known as COP 26 to be held in Scotland in November.
A brief statement from the ministry said Kerry would be meeting with China’s top climate negotiator, fellow veteran diplomat Xie Zhenhua. The US and China are the world’s biggest carbon emitters and both have set targets to become carbon neutral in coming decades, although China’s stated date of 2060 has been described as not ambitious enough.
The trip marks the highest-level travel to China known so far for officials of the Biden administration and comes amid heightened tensions over human rights, trade and China’s territorial claims to Taiwan and the South China Sea. As the largest contributor by far of climate-damaging fumes from burning petroleum and coal, China is essential to any success of global climate accords.
The US Embassy in Beijing said no media events are planned before Kerry travels on to Seoul, South Korea.
Biden has invited 40 world leaders, including Chinese head of state Xi Jinping, to participate in an April 22-23 virtual climate summit. The US and other countries are expected to announce more ambitious national targets for cutting carbon emissions and pledge financial help for climate efforts by less wealthy nations.
Kerry has been pressing global leaders in person and over the internet ahead of the summit for commitments and alliances on climate efforts.
US special envoy for climate John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua reached the agreement during two days of talks in Shanghai last week, according to a joint statement.
Southeast Asian leaders agreed on Sunday to work together on the region’s economy and security to strengthen their position to face growing US-China tensions, as they wrapped up their summit in Bangkok.
Austin is making the first visit by a top member of US President Joe Biden's administration to New Delhi as part of efforts to forge an alliance of countries seeking to push back against China's assertiveness in the region.
New details of how quickly China plans to reduce carbon emissions will be revealed on Friday when Beijing releases its next Five Year Plan. And in April, President Joe Biden is expected to announce the United States’ own new targets for emissions cuts.
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