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Chinese, US envoys to discuss climate change

By HOU LIQIANG | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-09-01 07:13

Chinese and US flags flutter outside the building of an American company in Beijing, on Jan 21, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

Kerry's trips show nations' 'positive attitude' on cooperating to tackle crisis

United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry will be in China from Tuesday to Friday to meet his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua in the lead-up to this year's United Nations climate change conference.

The duo will exchange views in Tianjin on China-US climate cooperation and the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference, which will be held in Glasgow in the United Kingdom from Oct 31 to Nov 12, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said in a media release on Tuesday.

It is Kerry's second trip to China this year as climate envoy. While in China in April, Kerry talked with Xie on the same topics.

Xie, 71, led the Chinese delegation in global climate negotiations from 2007 to 2018. The ministry announced his return to climate diplomacy in February.

Zhao Xiaolu, climate director of the Environmental Defense Fund's China program, said the two meetings show that China and the US both have a "positive attitude" on cooperating to address the climate crisis.

The US-China Joint Statement Addressing the Climate Crisis in April pointed to the potential direction of cooperation between the two countries. "We look forward to actual moves on cooperation between the US and China after this meeting," Zhao said.

She said that the COP 26 would provide a great opportunity for the two countries to make joint climate efforts as "it is the first time that the parties will get together to reach a more efficient and collaborative solution to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement", after the US rejoined the agreement in February.

According to the US State Department, Kerry traveled to Tokyo before heading to Tianjin during his four-day Asia trip.

In Tianjin, Kerry will continue discussions on key aspects of the climate crisis, as outlined in April's joint statement.

According to the statement, aside from beefing up each nation's climate action, the two sides will cooperate with each other under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.

After reviewing the goals of the agreement, the two sides pledged to make enhanced efforts to bring the goals into reality while joining forces to identify and address opportunities and challenges, it said.

Reached in 2015, the Paris Agreement aims to keep the global temperature rise this century below a 2 C increase from preindustrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 C.

Under the administration of then US president Barack Obama, China and the US were lauded for laying the foundations of international support for the agreement. At the time, Kerry was US secretary of state.

The statement also listed some major areas that the two nations will discuss, including the decarbonization of industry and power, energy-efficient buildings and green, low-carbon transportation.

"Both China and the US are putting an emphasis on developing renewable energies, green hydrogen and energy storage, which are essential for the low carbon transition, and we hope to see the relevant implementation details this time," Zhao said.

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