BALI, Indonesia — President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed on Monday to restart talks between the two countries as part of international climate talks, a breakthrough in efforts to avoid catastrophic global warming.
Climate talks between the U.S. and China have been frozen for months amid rising tensions between the two countries over trade, Taiwan and a range of security issues. In retaliation for Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China in August suspended all cooperation with the United States, including around climate change.
But the leaders of the world’s two largest economies — and the two biggest sources of fossil fuel emissions that are warming the planet — met for more than three weeks ahead of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, on Monday afternoon. hours, and speaking their representatives will return to the negotiating table.
The announcement reverberated 6,000 miles away in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where delegates and activists at the United Nations climate conference, known as COP27, hoped for news that would spur countries around the world to take more aggressive climate action.
“This is great news for climate negotiations and climate action,” said Nathaniel Keohahn, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a Washington-based environmental group.
Thousands of Egyptian diplomats and activists are highly concerned about Trump. Biden’s meeting with Mr. Bali. seat.
“It’s a big deal,” said Li Shuo, a Beijing-based policy adviser for the environmental group Greenpeace. The U.S. and China need to send a signal that the existential threat posed by climate change to humanity is worth putting aside their differences, he said.
gentlemen. Biden appears to be pushing Mr. Xi Jinping delivered his opening remarks in Bali ahead of a bilateral meeting at the hotel of the Chinese delegation.
“I believe that the world expects China and the United States to play a key role in addressing global challenges, from climate change to food insecurity, and — enabling us to work together,” he said. Biden said. “The U.S. is ready to do that — work with you — if that’s what you want.”
After the meeting, the White House issued a statement saying the two leaders “agreed to empower key senior officials to maintain communication and deepen constructive efforts on climate change and other issues.”
John Kerry, Mr. Biden’s climate envoy and his counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, are not in formal talks in Sharm el-Sheikh, where representatives of nearly 200 countries are grappling with whether industrialized nations should compensate developing countries for damage caused by climate disasters. Loss and damage issues.
The two, who have known each other for 20 years, met at least seven times by chance at COP27, a government official said. They were seen speaking together in public – once, sir. Mr. Xie hugged Mr. Kerry’s arm – and Mr. Kerry was seen walking into the offices of the Chinese delegation.
On Monday, neither did Mr. kerry or mr. Xie will answer questions about what it means to get approval from your boss for the remainder of the climate meeting.
The new round of talks comes at a critical juncture in the fight to curb global warming. In talks in Egypt, negotiators representing nearly 200 countries are trying to find common ground between rich and poor nations.
“Countries like to hide between the US and China and say ‘the two biggest polluters aren’t cooperating and aren’t doing much, why are we doing this?'” said Bernice Lee, a climate policy expert at the Royal Institute of International Affairs. British Policy Institute. When they came together around ambition, she said, that kind of debate was eliminated.
Discussions also take place as countries position themselves to dominate industries such as solar, wind and batteries that will help the world shift away from fossil fuels.
The United States is poised to compete fiercely with China on the green economy after Trump signed a landmark climate law. Biden will inject $370 billion into renewable energy and electric vehicles this summer. When Mr. Biden attended climate talks in Egypt on Friday, he said the funding would clear the way for U.S. innovation to lower the cost of solar, wind and other renewable energy.
The United States and China, the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, have warmed the planet by an average of 1.1 degrees Celsius or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit compared to pre-industrial levels. Scientists have warned that if temperatures rise by more than 1.5 degrees, the potential for catastrophic climate impacts increases significantly.
Previous U.S.-China deals paved the way for the 2015 Paris Agreement, the first global-warming agreement in which both developed and developing countries pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Can we imagine 1.5 for the rest of this decade without the US and China talking to each other?” Mr. Lee said. “I can’t see that.”
But it is unclear how the new cooperation between Washington and Beijing translates into a concrete agreement at COP27, which begins on November 11. 6, expected to end in November. 18.
The two countries disagree on several fronts.
The United States wants COP27 negotiators to reiterate their pledge to keep warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius, but China refuses to do so because it would require it to commit to deeper emissions cuts.
The biggest question facing Egyptian negotiators is whether to set up a fund to help poor countries deal with the loss and devastation of persistent climate disasters — such as devastating floods in Pakistan and Nigeria, or the need to resettle island communities due to rising sea levels .
The Biden administration has resisted creating a new fund, in part because it is unlikely to receive any funding from Congress, but also because the administration does not want to be held accountable for soaring global disaster costs.
gentlemen. Kerry also said China should contribute to any new funding that might be created, given its large and growing contribution to global warming. This is not well addressed for China, which insists on its status in the UN climate agency as a developing country rather than an industrialized country.
According to UN climate rules, “China has no obligation to provide financial support”. Sheffield said Wednesday. He said Beijing was ready to spend money to help poorer countries, but only through different channels.
“Both countries are under pressure at the COP to mobilize more climate finance for poor countries,” said Kelly Sims Gallagher, a professor at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. She said she hoped this would lead to was the focus when Mr. Kerry and Mr. Xie sat down for a substantive discussion.