Energy & Environment

Kerry presses China to declare moratorium on financing coal projects

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John Kerry, President Biden’s special envoy for climate, is reportedly looking to push China to issue a moratorium on financing coal projects during a trip to the country next week. 

The Wall Street Journal reported the plans, citing people familiar with the matter, one of whom said that U.S. officials are looking for China to declare a formal pause as Beijing has yet to fund any new foreign coal plants or investments this year. 

This is the first year Beijing has not launched new funding for foreign coal projects since 2013, when it launched its Belt and Road Initiative focused on developing global infrastructure to connect East Asia in new ways to areas in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. 

However, the Journal reported that people familiar with Chinese leaders’ thinking said they do not want to appear as though they are submitting to pressure from the West, instead looking to set their own standards on fighting climate change. 

Additionally, the sources close to the Chinese policymakers said that despite some movements indicating openness to combating climate change, Beijing is still looking to portray itself as an advocate for developing countries that wish to continue using coal. 

China’s Foreign Ministry and the U.S. Embassy in Beijing told the Journal that they did not have any information to share regarding any planned trip.

Reuters had previously reported that Kerry was planning a September trip to China. 

The Hill has reached out to Kerry’s office for additional information. 

The Biden administration has repeatedly sought to put pressure on Beijing to adhere to international climate standards, with Kerry hoping that China would go even further than its pledge announced last year to reach peak carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions before 2060. 

President Biden in April announced a goal for the U.S. to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. 

That same month, Kerry said during a visit to the United Arab Emirates that he was hopeful the U.S. and China would be able to come together on a number of climate issues. 

“President Biden has made it clear and I’ve made it clear: none of the other issues we have with China — and there are issues — is held hostage to or is engaged in a trade for what we need to do on climate,” Kerry said at the time.

Tags Carbon neutrality China China policy Climate change Climate change policy coal power Joe Biden John Kerry Special Envoy on Climate Change The Wall Street Journal White House
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