John KerryJohn Forbes KerryBiden's favorability rating rises while Trump's slips: Gallup Biden to nominate Neera Tanden, Cecilia Rouse to economic team: WSJ Biden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls MORE says China is ready to get serious about climate change.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman said he's been assured that China will play a "constructive role" at an international climate change conference in Copenhagen later this year.

"There are immediate opportunities for the United States and China to collaborate on climate change and clean energy issues," said Kerry, who's wrapping up a trip through China.

"In my meetings this week, Chinese leaders assured me that China will play a positive and constructive role in the Copenhagen negotiations," Kerry added. "China recognizes the need to address climate change as a critical component of the nation's economic development and national security strategy."

Republicans have argued that it's unfair for the United States to make economic sacrifices to combat global warming when China will not.

Kerry said that the two countries can get on the same page leading up to Copenhagen.

"If the United States and China--which together produce almost half of global emissions--can demonstrate concrete progress in the weeks ahead, we will lay the foundation for success at Copenhagen and beyond," Kerry said.