U.S. urged to show respect in climate talks

2023-07-13 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Climate cooperation between China and the United States should feature mutual appreciation and acknowledgment, experts said.

Their remarks came ahead of the four-day China visit by John Kerry, U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, which is scheduled to start on Sunday.

The Ministry of Ecology and Environment announced on Wednesday Kerry's upcoming visit, during which the two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on working together to tackle climate change.

This comes about 11 months after climate talks with the U.S. ground to a halt following the controversial visit to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi, the then speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Experts said her visit to Taiwan on Aug 2 undermined the political trust required for China-U.S. climate cooperation.

Before his upcoming visit, Kerry held formal consultations with his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua on the sidelines of the COP27 United Nations climate change conference in Egypt in November.

Recalling previous progress in China-U.S. climate cooperation, Zhang Jianyu, executive director of the BRI Green Development Institute, stressed the importance of respect, appreciation and acknowledgment in helping to secure future progress in the two nations' climate cooperation.

Under the administration of former president Barack Obama, for example, China and the U.S. laid the foundations for international support for the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. In 2021, the two nations issued the U.S.-China Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s, he said.

Respect, appreciation and acknowledgment of the efforts made by the other side in tackling climate change were key to this progress, Zhang noted.

The U.S. should fully acknowledge the efforts and progress China has made in tackling climate change, rather than placing new requirements on China, he said, adding that President Xi Jinping's announcement in September 2021 that China will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad was one of the examples demonstrating China's great and concrete climate endeavors.

"Don't just look to the future, but also reflect on the past," Zhang stressed.

Tang Xinhua, associate researcher with the Institute of International Relations at Tsinghua University, said that competition far outweighs cooperation in the climate diplomacy policy toward China of U.S. President Joe Biden's administration, and U.S. strategic competition with China also poses challenges to the two countries' climate cooperation.

"As a premise for advancing China-U.S. climate cooperation, the U.S. should adjust its relevant strategies and policies," he said.

He called on the U.S. to respect other countries' national conditions, take actions based on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, and prevent ideological differences from adversely impacting China-U.S. climate cooperation.

Tang said the two nations could work together to allow the COP28 UN climate change conference, which is due to be held in the United Arab Emirates later this year, to play a bigger role in advancing full and effective implementation of the Paris treaty. They could also strengthen the interconnectivity of the two countries' clean energy markets, and bolster cooperation on net-zero technologies.

"They should reach a consensus on cooperation on clean supply chains and jointly safeguard the stability and completeness of the global clean energy supply chain system," he said.

At a regular news conference on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, "It is hoped that the U.S. will work with China to create the enabling conditions and atmosphere for China-U.S. climate cooperation."

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