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US climate envoy Kerry visits Asia for emissions talks

TOKYO, Aug.31 – US Climate Envoy John Kerry arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday for talks with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and other officials on cooperation on carbon emissions and reducing support for fossil fuels, especially coal, before heading to Beijing.

Talks in the two Asian economic powers will consist of “engaging with their international counterparts on efforts to deal with the climate crisis,” the State Department said in a statement Monday, Washington time.

The former secretary of state has led the United States’ efforts to convince the global community of the threat of climate change and to urge accelerated efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The US push precedes the UN climate conference COP26, to be held in Scotland later this year.

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In Japan, talks are expected to focus on the country’s continued support for coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel. Japan is the only G7 country to build coal-fired power plants as it grapples with the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which shut down most of the country’s reactors.

Kerry’s visit to Japan and China comes after the US Treasury said earlier this month that the United States would oppose most multilateral development banks like the World Bank’s involvement in fuel projects. fossils.

Discussions in Tokyo are also expected to focus on the Asian Development Bank’s plans to organize and develop a project to acquire coal-fired power plants and shut them down earlier.

The effort, first reported by Reuters, includes UK insurer Prudential PLC, lenders Citigroup Inc and HSBC Holdings PLC and BlackRock Real Assets, with the ambition of a first purchase in 2022.

Japan is the AfDB’s largest shareholder and Tokyo’s support will be crucial for the success of these plans.

China, the United States and Japan are the largest, second and fifth largest carbon emitters in the world.

On his trip to China, Kerry will look to build on the commitments he helped secure during his visit in April, when the two countries agreed to cooperate to urgently tackle climate change.

China has pledged to “step up its ambition” in the fight against climate change and is preparing to announce new measures before the end of the year.

Campaigners are monitoring any new coal pledges, and many are hopeful that Beijing will stop funding overseas coal-fired power plants.

Amid political tensions between the two sides, the United States has attempted to shut down climate issues and Kerry is not mandated to discuss other matters with China.