Kerry says world can't solve climate crisis without China's engagement, commitment

Kerry says world can't solve climate crisis without China's engagement, commitment
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John KerryJohn KerryClimate policies propel a growing dysfunction of Western democracies Kerry calls out countries that need to 'step up' on climate change Those on the front lines of climate change should be empowered to be central to its solution MORE, the special presidential envoy for climate, on Tuesday discussed the importance of U.S.-Chinese cooperation to address the global environment, contending that the current climate situation cannot be solved without “full engagement and commitment” from China.

Kerry met virtually from Tianjin, China, with Han Zheng, China’s vice premier, to “discuss the importance of U.S.-China cooperation in the global effort to reduce emissions and tackle the climate crisis,” according to a statement from a State Department official.

Kerry reportedly emphasized that the world can not “solve the climate crisis” without the engagement of China, noting that the world's second-largest economy produces 27 percent of all global emissions.

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Without “significant reduction efforts” by China, the spokesperson noted, the globe will not be able to reach its goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees celsius.

“Secretary Kerry emphasized the importance of the world taking serious climate actions in this critical decade and strengthening global climate ambition ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland,” the spokesperson added, referring to the U.N. conference, known as COP26, which is set to commence in late November.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported that Han told Kerry that China made “huge efforts” in addressing climate change and has seen “remarkable results,” according to The Associated Press.

The Chinese news agency quoted Han saying that China “hopes the American side will create the appropriate circumstances for jointly tackling climate change based on the spirit of the conversations between their leaders.”

Kerry also met virtually with state councilor and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during his visit to Tianjin.

According to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang told Kerry that the U.S. views the two countries’ joined effort on climate to be an “oasis,” but warned that such a situation may not be able to exist because of their rising tensions in other areas.

“However, if the oasis is all surrounded by deserts, then sooner or later, the 'oasis' will be desertified. China-U.S. cooperation on climate change cannot be divorced from the overall situation of China-U.S. relations,” the foreign ministry wrote. 

“The United States should work with China to meet each other halfway and take positive actions to bring China-U.S. relations back on track,” it added.

Kerry is traveling to Tokyo and China from Aug. 31-Sept. 3 to “engage with international counterparts on efforts to address the climate crisis,” according to the State Department.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Kerry was looking to use his trip to push China to issue a moratorium on financing coal projects.

The U.S. has for some time been trying to encourage China to take more action when it comes to climate change. In April, Kerry said China was “not doing enough” on the issue.