Bad relations could imperil Climate co-op, China tells US

DM Monitoring

BEIJING: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has warned the United States that deteriorating ties between Beijing and Washington could undermine efforts to combat global warming and climate change.
Wang told visiting US climate envoy John Kerry that “climate cooperation cannot be separated from the wider environment” of US-China relations and called on Washington to take active steps to improve ties, according to a foreign ministry statement. Wang said the two sides’ joint efforts on climate change were an “oasis”.
“But surrounding the oasis is a desert, and the oasis could be desertified very soon,” he said via video link. Cooperation on climate “cannot sustain without an improved bilateral relationship”, he added, urging the US to “stop viewing China as a threat and a rival” and “cease containing and suppressing China all over the world”. Kerry, who was in the Chinese city of Tianjin for climate talks, told Wang that the US remained committed to working with other nations to tackle climate change, according to the US Department of State.
The climate crisis “must be addressed with the seriousness and urgency that it demands,” he said while encouraging China to “take additional to reduce emissions”. The US, which has resumed its role in global climate diplomacy after a four-year hiatus under President Donald Trump, has long hoped to keep climate issues separate from its wider disputes with China on issues such as trade, human rights and the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kerry is in Tianjin to hold face-to-face talks with Xie Zhenhua, China’s special climate envoy, on the countries’ joint response to the climate crisis. The former US secretary of state has called for stronger efforts to curb rising temperatures to no more than 1.5C (34.7F) over pre-industrial levels, and urged China to join the US in urgently cutting carbon emissions.
The meeting in Tianjin is the second to be held between Kerry and Xie, with the first taking place in Shanghai in April. Kerry has no remit to discuss anything apart from climate change issues. Climate watchers are hoping that the talks will lead to more ambitious pledges by both countries to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.
China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, followed by the US. “The G2 (China and the United States) need to realise that beyond their bilateral oasis and desert, the whole planet is at stake,” said Li Shuo, a senior climate adviser with the environmental group Greenpeace. “If they don’t make joint climate progress fast enough, it is soon all going to be desert,” he added.
Though Wang warned that climate change could now be tied to other diplomatic issues, China has insisted that its efforts to curb its emissions and switch to cleaner forms of energy are a vital part of its own ambitious domestic policy agenda.