China-US climate cooperation


At China’s invitation, US climate envoy John Kerry will visit China from Wednesday to Saturday. He will be the first high-ranking US official to visit the Chinese mainland since July 2019. He is scheduled to meet with Xie Zhenhua, China’s special envoy on climate change, in Shanghai and is likely to have meetings with other Chinese officials. The US stressed that its relationship with China “will be competitive when it should be, collaborative when it can be, and adversarial when it must be.” The climate change issue is one of the few areas where the US has a high willingness to work with China right now. The reason is simple: Without China’s cooperation, none of the Biden administration’s climate ambitions can be achieved. As a result, Kerry has decided to come to China. However, Kerry’s visit is clearly not an icebreaker in China-US relations. The US attitude is to completely separate China-US cooperation from the competition and confrontation between the two countries. Cooperation with China is not aimed at improving China-US relations, but rather a separate project to advance the US’ own interests. In the case of climate change, US President Joe Biden wants not only to make some achievements during his presidency but also to win over his European allies by pressing the issue ahead, which in turn is aimed at strengthening the alliance system to deal with China. So although dealing with climate change is a common mission of all humanity, the Biden administration is trying to use China to promote the US’ own interests and further contain China by strengthening its alliance system. They are thinking of a deal in which China one-sidedly fulfills its obligation and the US gains from that unilaterally. In this regard, Kerry’s visit is a good thing. But it is also complex as it brings challenges. We believe that China should just let this complexity be. We welcome Kerry’s visit, but we should not expect too much from it. We should follow our own established plans and commitments to the international community to work with the Biden administration on this matter. We should never make compromises that would undermine China’s own interests. China has already committed to striving to achieve a peak in carbon emissions by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. The country has included these goals in its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) for national economic and social development and the long-range objectives through the year 2035. Whether Kerry comes or not, China will stick to this goal. We welcome the Biden administration’s decision to restore a positive approach to climate change issues. And we are glad to see China and the US work together to promote the UN climate plan and coordinate their domestic policies accordingly. By playing more of a “leadership role,” the US wants to force China to further concede and make China and other countries do more of their obligations, which is also what China should not accept. Washington lacks both the moral basis and the practical power to dictate to Beijing on climate change issues.
–The Daily Mail-Global Times News Exchange Item