Kerry Pushes China to Slash More Planet-Warming Gases by 2030
(Bloomberg) -- The top U.S. climate diplomat encouraged China to move more aggressively to slash greenhouse gas emissions before 2030, calling this a “critical decade” for keeping global warming in check.
“We hope we can find more common ground for moving the process forward, and we’re looking at a number of different ways in which we might be able to do that,” U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said in an interview taped Wednesday for “Leaders With Lacqua” on Bloomberg Television.
Kerry added he is hopeful “that President Xi will make the decision that they could move further with respect to the reduction of emissions during the course of the next 10 years.”
President Xi Jinping last week pledged that China, the world’s top greenhouse gas emitter, would stop building new coal-fired power plants outside that country but did not commit to curtail its own reliance on the fossil fuel. The U.S. and China are set to discuss the issue ahead of a pivotal United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland in four weeks.
China’s autonomy on the issue could be critical to making progress. Though Kerry and his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, have spent months in talks, the country has sought to make recent climate commitments -- such as Xi’s coal pronouncement at the UN General Assembly meeting last week -- independent of the U.S.
Tensions between the two nations on other topics, including trade and human rights concerns, also threaten to derail climate progress seen as vital to success in Glasgow. Kerry acknowledged Wednesday that in recent months, climate efforts “have been somewhat entangled by some of the other things.”
Separately, Kerry scolded other top-emitting nations for moving too timidly to slash planet-warming emissions. Several major economies, including Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Russia and Switzerland, have so submitted inadequate or weakened plans for intensifying emissions cuts at a level necessary to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the nonprofit research group Climate Action Tracker. That is a key threshold for staving off some of the most catastrophic effects of climate change.
“We obviously have an obligation to get the job done, but some countries are, for various reasons, not yet decided to push the limit with respect to some of the reductions that we need to achieve,” Kerry said.
The U.S., Canada, Japan, the EU and U.K., among other countries representing some 55% of the world’s gross domestic product have committed to hold the line at 1.5 degrees, Kerry said.
“But there are other countries that emit very significant amounts that have not yet put themselves on that glide path to be able to achieve that,” he said. The top 20 emitting nations “above all, have to step up.”
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