Breaking Barriers: John Kerry’s Attempt to Forge US-China Unity on Climate


Mr. Kerry, the US special envoy for climate change, is the most recent high-ranking official dispatched from Washington in an effort to warm relations with Beijing, following trips by Antony Blinken and Janet Yellen. 

He will meet with various authorities during his four-day trip, as well as his Chinese colleague, Xie Zhenhua. Mr. Kerry’s assertions are: Even though it is unlikely that any specific choices will be made at their meeting, they will use it as a starting point for discussion. 

They will likely talk about the difficulties they are having with lowering carbon emissions and expediting their switch to clean energy. Yet, as they are also the two biggest carbon polluters, they are the “G2 of energy consumption, energy use, and pollution.”

Read Also: Why China’s climate policy matters to us all

Prioritizing Energy Security

Obviously, both administrations are still having difficulty balancing the demands of economic growth and the need to reduce emissions, which has led to contradictory steps that have sparked criticism from environmentalists.

China has already expressed interest in weaning itself off of coal. President Xi Jinping set ambitious carbon neutrality goals for 2020 in response to the steady growth of sustainable energy infrastructure over the previous years.

As a result of years of increasing smog in Beijing and other cities, which had created major public unease, authorities gradually shut down coal-fired power stations and decreased coal production. Currently, securing China’s energy security is its top goal. In order to do that, coal power must be used again because it is more dependable than the unpredictable nature of wind and solar energy.

One study claims that China permitted a considerable increase in coal power production last year, which is the equivalent of licensing two sizable coal power plants every week.

Another revealed that while renewable energy now makes up a larger portion of China’s electricity output, the absolute amount of coal-fired power was still increasing due to the sheer amount of demand.

Activists argue that there are market regulations and infrastructure solutions that can make the supply of clean energy more reliable, and that turning back to coal is a lazy approach to fixing the issue.

The US just enacted two pieces of legislation that would invest billions of dollars in sustainable energy. Yet it has also just given the green light to one of Alaska’s biggest recent oil and gas drilling ventures.

According to the International Energy Agency, US carbon emissions increased in 2022 as a result of the nation’s increased use of natural gas during the year’s severe weather.

Read Also: Janet Yellen asks China to cooperate on climate change action

Source: BBC News

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