US climate envoy John Kerry (L) and the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo pose for a photograph prior to their meeting at the Hotel de Ville, in Paris on March 12, 2021. - US climate envoy John Kerry confirmed on March 10, 2021, the United States would lay out new financing commitments for the Paris Agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions ahead of an April 22 summit, the pact's fifth anniversary. (Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP)(AFP)
US climate envoy John Kerry (L) and the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo pose for a photograph prior to their meeting at the Hotel de Ville, in Paris on March 12, 2021. - US climate envoy John Kerry confirmed on March 10, 2021, the United States would lay out new financing commitments for the Paris Agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions ahead of an April 22 summit, the pact's fifth anniversary. (Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP)(AFP)

US climate envoy Kerry to take part in summit co-hosted by China

John Kerry, the special presidential envoy for climate, is to participate in the Ministerial on Climate Action, according to two people familiar with the matter. Yet no separate virtual session is planned between Kerry and his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, the people said.
Bloomberg |
PUBLISHED ON MAR 23, 2021 03:31 PM IST

The Biden administration is set to participate in a climate summit co-hosted by China on Tuesday, just days after its first face-to-face talks with that country descended into bickering.

John Kerry, the special presidential envoy for climate, is to participate in the Ministerial on Climate Action, according to two people familiar with the matter. Yet no separate virtual session is planned between Kerry and his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, the people said.

The virtual ministerial session, organized by the European Union, Canada and China, is intended to bring together representatives of more than 30 countries, including some of the world’s top emitters of the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

In a joint statement earlier this month, the U.S. and European Union highlighted the ministerial meeting as one of several “key milestones for increasing momentum” and encouraging more ambitious greenhouse gas emissions-cutting goals before a United Nations climate summit in Glasgow this November.

The U.S. also is holding its own virtual meeting with top-emitting countries on April 22.

Despite a fraught U.S.-China relationship, Kerry has emphasized the U.S. can “find a way to compartmentalize” its global warming discussions with China, which is the world’s top emitter, responsible for almost 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Concerns about other matters , such as protecting intellectual property, are “obviously significant issues,” Kerry said on March 2 at CERAWeek by IHS Markit, “but the climate crisis is not something that can fall victim to those other concerns and contests.”

Kerry, a former secretary of State and U.S. senator, has been in touch with Xie since they were both appointed, and further conversations between the two are expected, according to one of the people familiar with the interactions.

Tuesday’s meeting comes as the U.S. seeks to rebuild trust after the country’s departure from the Paris climate agreement under President Donald Trump. Since the U.S. formally rejoined the pact in February, Kerry has been meeting with climate negotiators globally to underscore the country’s commitment to the accord.

Kerry, who helped broker the landmark agreement when he led the State Department under President Barack Obama, pressed climate concerns in meetings with top European Commission officials earlier this month. A renewed alliance between the U.S. and the E.U. on climate issues could shift the dynamics of crucial global talks, encouraging China and other major polluters to step up their efforts to reduce emissions, Kerry said at the time.

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