In rare display, US-China friendship carries climate summit

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US climate envoy John Kerry (L) and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua shake hands at a news conference at the end of COP28.

US climate envoy John Kerry (L) and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua shake arms at a information convention on the finish of COP28.

DUBAI – The sight wouldn’t be unimaginable elsewhere as of late – the delegates of the United States and China, smiling and mendacity down, suggesting that their friendship is main the world collectively in the correct route.

But the spirit of co-operation was on full show in Dubai, the place a UN climate summit on Wednesday sealed a historic deal to kick-start the transition from oil, fuel and coal, the principle culprits within the planetary disaster.

Hailing the summit as successful, US climate envoy John Kerry – the previous secretary of state, senator and presidential contender – joined Xie Zhenhua, his retiring Chinese counterpart whom he has identified for years. with him.

Kerry welcomed Xie a month earlier for a protracted weekend on the Sunnylands resort within the California desert, the place the 2 nations — collectively accountable for 41 % of world greenhouse fuel emissions — agreed on a top level view of motion climate was partly the premise. for the market of practically 200 nations in Dubai.

Xie recalled their work collectively on one other main climate settlement, in Paris eight years in the past, and mentioned he took his grandson – himself eight years previous – to Dubai to satisfy Kerry, who turned 80 ‘age on Monday throughout the negotiations.

His grandson wished “glad birthday to my good buddy Mr. Kerry,” Xie mentioned.

Trying to embrace the silver-haired American, Xie mentioned, “I want to invite you to hitch me in wishing my good previous buddy good well being and a cheerful life.”

It was removed from the diplomacy “wolf warrior” which China has been identified just lately, with shrill sounds, loaded assault the United States and its affect all over the world.

Although tensions eased when Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping met final month in San Francisco, the 2 powers stay at loggerheads on a variety of points.

At the peak of the one-hour talks in Dubai, when Xie and Kerry mentioned they have been working collectively, the State Department issued a press release denouncing what it noticed as aggressive strikes by Beijing towards the Philippines within the South China Sea. South China.

Climate change needs to be seen as a “universally accepted humanitarian situation” and “not a bilateral strategic situation when it comes to the South China Sea or other forms of issues,” Kerry mentioned.

The Biden administration agreed with China to “attempt to separate different points and concentrate on one thing that’s not bilateral however world,” he mentioned.

– Trying to affect others –

The climate has not at all times been insulated, with China reducing again on final 12 months’s talks of grief when US House speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, the self-governing democracy claimed by Beijing.

The pleasant tone can also be unlikely to proceed if Donald Trump returns as president, as he’s a climate change skeptic who opposes China as an arch enemy.

The Biden administration has additionally recognized China as the most important challenger to US primacy. But on the climate, Kerry mentioned the dynamic has modified in recent times with China rising as the biggest producer of renewable vitality, even because it stays the biggest emitter.

Kerry mentioned he agreed with China to carry consultations on long-term climate plans and that each powers wished to “generate extra effort in different nations” to deliver a few world answer.

Dubai’s declaration talks about rising renewable vitality to exchange fossil fuels, according to the joint assertion between the US and China in Sunnylands.

But Li Shuo, an knowledgeable on China’s climate coverage on the Asia Society Policy Institute, mentioned the Dubai settlement confirmed much less of a US-China fingerprint than the Paris settlement, which appeared extra like a “copy and paste” from the understandings of the of his personal nation. .

China, on the street to peak emissions, has primarily “stepped” from representing the growing world on climate, he mentioned.

Li mentioned it was additionally unimaginable to utterly isolate climate from the broader US-China rivalry.

“There are rising limits on their potential to guide the remainder of the struggle, partially due to the contentious relationship between the 2 nations,” he mentioned.

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