Climate cooperation depends on overall ties, China tells U.S.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the US should not wantonly interfere in China’s internal affairs and harm China’s interests

China said on Wednesday its cooperation with the United States on climate change would depend on the overall state of relations between the two countries, warning the Joe Biden administration, which has placed special emphasis on tackling climate change, that working together on this issue may extract a price.

"As the largest developing country and the largest developed country in the world, China and the United States share common interests in addressing climate change,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said. "We should step up communication and coordination, and play an exemplary role in the international community. That said, I want to stress that China-U.S. cooperation in specific areas is closely related to the overall China-U.S. relationship.

“The U.S. should not, on the one hand, wantonly interfere in China’s internal affairs and harm China’s interests, while on the other hand, ask China to show understanding and support in bilateral and global affairs.”

His comments followed a call from U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, for China to do more. He said Beijing’s commitment to peak emissions by 2030 was not sufficient to ensure a 1.5 degree Celsius global warming target.

"If China sticks with its current plant and does not peak its emissions until 2030, then the entire rest of the world must go to zero by 2040 or even 2035," he said. "There is simply no alternative because without sufficient reduction by China, the goal of 1.5C is essentially impossible.”

Mr. Zhao pointed out, regarding China’s efforts, that the country’s national carbon trading market had recently begun trading and carbon emissions by companies in the first batch were "estimated to exceed 4 billion tonnes per year, making the market the world’s largest in terms of the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.”

"China will strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060,” he said. "China will make the stride from carbon peaking to carbon neutrality within a far shorter period than developed countries. This is a major strategic decision made by China… In addressing climate change and successfully achieving emission reduction, China expects the U.S. to match its words with deeds, earnestly fulfill its due obligations and make its due contributions."

This is expected to be one of the many issues on the agenda later this week when Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman travels to China on July 25 and meets with Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi. The State Department announced in a statement on Wednesday “these discussions are part of ongoing U.S. efforts to hold candid exchanges with PRC officials to advance U.S. interests and values and to responsibly manage the relationship.”

"The Deputy Secretary will discuss areas where we have serious concerns about PRC actions, as well as areas where our interests align,” the statement said.

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