By contrast, the United States and China, which are opposing on multiple issues, pledged on Saturday to “cooperate” on climate change, ahead of the international summit organized by Joe Biden.
“The United States and China pledge to cooperate with each other and with other countries to address the climate crisis, which must be dealt with with the seriousness and urgency that it requires,” said the joint statement signed in Shanghai by John Kerry. The envoy, and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua.
The two countries are waiting “anxiously” for the hypothetical international environmental summit to be hosted by President Joe Biden next Thursday and Friday, although the text does not say whether Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend or not.
The Democrat invited 40 world leaders to the event. This is a rare meeting of a president in power for only three months, even if by video link, that requires the Coronavirus pandemic.
The administration will start rolling the ball by unveiling ambitious new targets for reducing greenhouse gases it announces.
Meanwhile, it is showing a common line with its major Chinese rival. The text, published on Saturday, lists the multiple avenues of cooperation between the world’s two largest economies, which together account for nearly half of the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change.
Washington and Beijing stress “strengthening their respective actions and cooperation in multilateral processes, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.”
Mr. Kerry was the first official in the Biden administration to visit China. The visit was a sign of hope that the two sides can work together to tackle the global challenge of climate change, despite stark tensions on many other issues.
The main sticking points are Chinese policy in Hong Kong and the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, which has sparked US criticism that Beijing denounces as attempts to interfere in its internal affairs. There is also the trade war or the Taiwan question.
From his first day in the Oval Office, Joe Biden decreed the United States returned to the Paris Agreement, reversing his climate-skeptic predecessor Donald Trump’s decision to leave.
The agreement, negotiated by John Kerry, then Secretary of State to President Barack Obama, obliges signatory nations to take measures to keep temperatures rising at no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) at pre-industrial levels.
– Long-term strategies –
While the world is not in time to achieve the goal, Biden hopes his summit will translate into stronger commitments ahead of the UN-led climate talks in Glasgow at the end of the year.
According to a statement on Saturday, Washington and Beijing “intend to develop” their long-term strategies to achieve carbon neutrality by the time of the Scottish summit.
Other short-term measures include promoting “international investment and financing” to support the transition to green energy in developing countries, as well as phasing out production and consumption of HFCs and gases mainly used in refrigeration, air conditioners and aerosols.
Long-term measures to be taken in 2020 to keep the temperature rise agreed upon in the Paris Agreement “within reach” include reducing emissions from industry and power generation, intensifying renewable energies, clean transportation and climate-resilient agriculture.
In the absence of the United States during Trump’s presidency, China has played a major role alongside the European Union in fighting climate change, with President Xi pledging last year to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
This week, the Chinese diplomat ridiculed Washington’s new tone, saying it was more than a “glorious comeback,” “the return of a bad student to school after skipping class.”