China and the U.S. are committed to strengthening cooperation in the fight against climate change despite multiple areas of disagreements between the world’s two largest economies.
The two countries will set up a joint working group on climate change, Xinhua reported after the first high-level face-to-face meeting between China and the U.S. concluded in Alaska.
Cooperation on climate change is a common ground between the two sides
Despite the strained relationship between the two countries over the past years, both Beijing and Washington have talked about the urgency of fighting climate change, and the need to work together in the field.
During a phone call with U.S. President Joe Biden in February, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed the two countries, as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, bear special international responsibilities and duties.
Biden agreed that the two countries should avoid conflicts and could conduct cooperation on areas such as climate change.
Biden won the election by going big on climate change, which is in sharp contrast with his predecessor Donald Trump.
While the Trump administration withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Agreement in November 2020, Biden signed an executive order hours after he was sworn-in to reenter the landmark global pact to combat global warming.
In response, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China welcomes the U.S.’s return to the Paris Agreement and expects it will shoulder its responsibility and make due contribution.
Wang noted he hoped renewed China-U.S. cooperation on climate change will bring positive “climate change” to the relations between the two countries.
Biden is holding a virtual global climate change summit in Washington on April 22, Earth Day, which aims to bring together world leaders to discuss climate change. Expectations are high that President Xi will attend the summit and the two leaders will meet virtually.
On Tuesday, a senior U.S. administration official said “we’re going to cooperate with China, where we have an interest in doing so,” the Voice of America (VOA) reported, without giving the name of the official.
China, the world’s largest developing country with a population of 1.4 billion, has pledged to hit peak emissions before 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2060.
The U.S. has announced a goal of reaching net-zero emissions no later than 2050.
Last month, China’s environment ministry announced the appointment of Xie Zhenhua as the country’s new special climate envoy.
The 71-year-old veteran official served as China’s chief climate negotiator from 2007 to 2018, and had a close working relationship with his counterpart John Kerry, Biden’s special presidential envoy for climate.
“I know him very well because I’ve worked with him for … 20 years or so,” Kerry told Reuters in an interview published February 4. He called Xie a”leader” and “capable advocate” for China on the issue of climate change.
The two men have been in direct contact, China’s foreign ministry said last month.
In an interview with Bloomberg last October, Xie said China “never lost contact with state governments, universities and enterprises in the U.S.,” adding “we are always willing to carry out cooperation.”
The Ministry of Ecology and Environment said the appointment of Xie reflects China’s commitment to strengthen communication with all sides when it comes to climate change.
Credit: Source link