John Kerry to Join Korea Talks as Nations Chase Climate Progress

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U.S. climate envoy John Kerry will join climate talks being convened by a group of middle-income countries as diplomatic efforts intensify ahead of the crucial COP26 summit later this year.

China’s Premier Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are among leaders who’ll send video messages to the virtual Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals summit, known as P4G, being hosted from Sunday by South Korea. Kerry is scheduled to take part in live discussions Monday and a total of 47 national leaders will participate, presidential spokeswoman Park Kyung-mi said Friday in a briefing.

The presence of leaders and envoys from outside the P4G’s core group of 12 nations, which includes Denmark, Indonesia and South Africa, is an indication of the urgency in efforts to ensure new agreements at the COP26 talks in Glasgow in November, when signatory countries are expected to update initial pledges to help achieve the Paris Agreement goals.

“We expect the members to discuss their positions on some of the challenging components of the Paris Agreement,” including financial support to help developing nations take climate action, said Ali Izadi-Najafabadi, head of Asia Pacific research at BloombergNEF. The talks are among the most important events ahead of the Glasgow meeting, he said.

U.S. President Joe Biden convened his own summit of leaders in April, while China’s President Xi Jinping has also met virtually for talks with the heads of France and Germany on topics including climate.

Discussions being hosted in Seoul will emphasize cooperation between the public and private sectors to address decarbonization, Yoo Yeon-chul, South Korea’s climate envoy and the director for the summit, told reporters earlier this month. “There’s only so much a single government can do,” he said. The P4G was launched in 2017 as a forum for a bloc of smaller nations.

South Korea will also use the summit to press for more collaboration on emissions-free shipping and marine pollution. The host nation aims to cut plastic waste in its waters by 60% by 2030, and to eliminate all of the refuse by 2050, Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Moon Seong-hyeok said in an interview.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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