China’s Own Path: Xi’s Stand on Climate Change Amid Kerry’s Visit

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China's Own Path: Xi's Stand on Climate Change Amid Kerry's Visit
U.S. Embassy Dhaka from Bangladesh

John Kerry’s visit to Beijing ends without new agreements on climate change. However, the discussions mark progress in the fight against global warming.

John Kerry, the climate envoy appointed by President Biden, concluded his three-day visit to Beijing without any new agreements on climate change. However, Kerry remains optimistic, viewing the resumption of discussions between the world’s two largest polluters as a significant step forward.

The talks were held amid an escalating global climate crisis, with China and the U.S. being key players in the fight against global warming. China currently contributes almost a third of global emissions, surpassing all other developed nations combined.

During the talks, Kerry urged Chinese officials to consider the recent heatwaves sweeping across China, Europe, and the U.S. as a forewarning of the impending disasters if greenhouse gas emissions are not drastically reduced. Kerry’s primary objective was to encourage China to expedate their timeline for reducing carbon emissions and phase out their extensive use of coal, the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel.

However, Chinese President Xi Jinping, who did not meet with Kerry during his visit, asserted that China would determine its own pace and methods for reducing carbon emissions. “The pathway and means for reaching this goal, and the tempo and intensity, should be and must be determined by ourselves, and never under the sway of others,” Xi stated in a speech.

Despite the lack of new agreements, Kerry dismissed the idea that the U.S. was trying to dictate China’s actions. Instead, he emphasized that the urgency of the climate crisis necessitates that the two countries collaborate more effectively.

While the discussions did not yield any groundbreaking results, they did highlight areas of agreement, such as the shared goal of preventing global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

The talks also shed light on the challenges surrounding China’s continued expansion of coal power. Despite these challenges, China is leading the world in the deployment of solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources.

In conclusion, Kerry’s visit to Beijing marked a small but significant step towards stabilizing U.S.-China relations and fostering cooperation on climate change. As the discussions continue, both nations must work intensively to break new ground in the fight against the global climate crisis.

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