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US, China agree to restart climate talks in hopes of broader thaw

The world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, the United States and China, have agreed to restart formal negotiations on climate change, suspended for more than a year, in a breakthrough that could provide momentum to international climate negotiations that begin later this month. Dubai.

The two countries said they would also strengthen coordination to reduce methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and work together to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

The announcements were made in a joint statement following three days of meetings between U.S. climate envoy John F. Kerry and his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, in Sunnylands, California, last week.

This comes ahead of a meeting between President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Wednesday, in which the two sides will attempt to repair relations that have rapidly deteriorated amid heated technological competition, rogue ballooning and increasingly brazen Chinese military activity in and around the South China Sea. Taiwan.

China’s Xi, who needs a victory, seems ready to engage with Biden

Kerry has repeatedly tried to revive the bilateral working group over the past year, after Beijing suspended it last August amid growing tensions over Taiwan, the island democracy that China claims as his territory.

When Kerry visited Beijing in July, Xi did not meet with him. Instead, Xi delivered a speech saying China’s pace in reducing greenhouse gas emissions “should and must be” determined without outside interference.

Leaders of some of the world’s biggest climate institutions fear strained relations between the two superpowers could derail progress in international negotiations at the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP28. to Dubai.

They called on the two superpowers to strike a deal, saying U.S.-China collaboration is key to reviving the international community’s belated efforts to limit rising global temperatures, which scientists say are contributing to to more fires, floods and deadly storms.

“Such a signal from COP28 would add major momentum to our fight against climate change,” Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, told The Post in an interview in September. “I don’t know how likely it is that there will be an agreement between China and the United States. … But I know it’s very unlikely we’ll achieve our climate goals without it.”

China is the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, releasing about 12.7 billion tons each year, more than double that of the United States. But because of its past industrialization, the United States bears greater global responsibility for total carbon emissions, which persist in the atmosphere for decades. Americans also generate more emissions per person than their Chinese counterparts, according to several analysts.

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