Following a meeting with his Chinese counterpart at COP27 in Egypt, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry urged Beijing to "accelerate progress together" on lowering greenhouse gas emissions on Sunday, Nov. 20.
In the fight against global warming, cooperation between the superpowers is essential and has produced significant achievements at previous UN climate conferences, most notably the historic 2015 Paris Agreement. The talks were put on hold by Beijing in August after Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House, visited Taiwan.
Following an agreement between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping at a G20 summit in Indonesia last week to resume cooperation on combating climate change, Kerry and Xie Zhenhua met during the UN session in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
Xie regarded his conversations with Kerry as honest, cordial, upbeat, and overall highly beneficial. But he rejected the notion that China should no longer be regarded as a developing country, despite the fact that it now has the second-largest economy in the world, and instead emphasized the continued disparities with Western countries.
This discrepancy in status is crucial because, according to a fundamental UN climate treaty from 1992, wealthy countries are required to aid developing countries financially in their attempts to transition to cleaner energy sources and increase their resistance to the effects of climate change.
The subject was at the center of a contentious discussion at COP27 regarding the creation of a "loss and damage" fund to pay poorer nations currently suffering the effects of global warming. The aspirational target of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels was maintained in a final COP27 declaration outlining the wide range of initiatives being taken to address a warming planet.
Kerry claims that "implementing real projects and deploying real dollars to accelerate the energy transition" will help achieve this objective. "Investment in clean energy and infrastructure will help countries deliver stronger climate ambition anywhere by driving down the cost of clean technologies." He mentioned a number of initiatives that were started prior to and during COP27 and said that Washington and other governments were "stepping up" funding to help the green transition.
In order to support American efforts to reduce emissions, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard presented a US$48 billion renewable energy investment plan last week in Sharm el-Sheikh. At the conference, Kerry also announced a collaboration with private investors to promote developing countries' switch to renewable energy by using a carbon credit system.