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US envoy Kerry due to talk on climate with Chinese officials

US envoy Kerry due to talk on climate with Chinese officials

Residents pass by a government propaganda with the words "Our Carbon Zero Agreement" on a street of in Beijing, China on Aug. 30, 2021. Chinese and U.S. officials plan to talk this week about reducing pollution by the world's two largest economies, an area of potential cooperation between two governments whose relations are strained on other issues. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

BEIJING: Chinese and US officials plan to talk this week about reducing pollution by the world's two largest economies - an area of potential cooperation between two governments whose relations are strained on other issues.

US climate envoy John Kerry is scheduled for meetings with counterparts from the Chinese Foreign Ministry beginning Wednesday.

Relations between Washington and Beijing have been strained by disputes over trade, technology and human rights, but the sides have identified the climate crisis as an area for possible cooperation.

The world’s biggest coal user, China obtains roughly 60 per cent of its power from coal and is the world’s biggest source of greenhouse gases. It plans to build more coal-fired power plants but still plans to widely taper its use of the fossil fuel.

Beijing has pointed to historical US emissions as a reason to resist action while making advances in solar power and other renewable energy sources. China has set a target of generating 20 per cent of the country’s total energy consumption from renewables by 2025, becoming carbon-neutral by 2060 and reducing total emissions starting from 2030.

President Joe Biden has announced a goal to cut up to 52 per cent of US greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 - double the target set by President Barack Obama in the 2015 Paris climate accord. The 2030 goal vaults the US into the top tier of countries on climate ambition.

Kerry has called for stronger efforts to curb rising temperatures to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. He urged China to join the US in urgently cutting carbon emissions.

Global decarbonising efforts will come under the spotlight at a UN conference to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in late November, known as COP26.

Source: AP/gs

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