China Criticizes U.S. on Climate as Xi Meets Merkel, Macron

Beijing criticized the U.S.’s track record on global warming while climate envoy John Kerry was in China seeking greater cooperation on the issue.

The U.S. is responsible for delaying the global achievement of key climate change targets set down in the Paris Agreement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters at a regular briefing in Beijing on Friday.

“It was the U.S. that announced its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in 2017 and stopped implementing its NDCs, which held the world back from achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement,” Zhao said. NDCs are the “nationally determined contributions” to the promised reduction in greenhouse gases.

The comments came before President Xi Jinping met virtually with the leaders of France and Germany on topics including climate. Xi is not scheduled to meet with Kerry and Chinese state media has downplayed his visit to Shanghai.

U.S. President Joe Biden is trying to reestablish America as a leader on global climate action after four years of backtracking under Donald Trump, including by rejoining the Paris accord.

The U.S. is expected to announce stronger emissions reduction targets before an April 22-23 climate summit hosted by the White House. Biden has invited the leaders of 40 nations, including some of the biggest polluters and smaller, and less wealthy nations that are especially vulnerable to the changes brought by a warming planet.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron both welcomed Xi’s renewed commitment to achieve Chinese CO₂ neutrality by 2060, Merkel’s deputy spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said in an emailed statement after the video conference on Friday.

In addition, they supported China’s plan to revise reduction goals on a short-term basis. The three leaders also discussed the coronavirus pandemic and global vaccine supplies, Demmer said without giving any further details.

Xi called for deeper collaboration in combating climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. China will ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement to gradually reduce the consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons.

Xi also said that China hopes developed countries will provide financial and technological support for developing countries in the battle against climate change, Xinhua reported, and that the issue should not serve as a geopolitical bargaining chip.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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