The last two agreements made by the world to fight climate change came only after the United States and China, the two biggest carbon polluters of all time, made deals with each other. The successful dynamic is now in jeopardy with China cutting climate talks with the US due to the visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.
Experts said how much this would speed up — especially in the United States where there is congressional action to cut emissions of the heat-trapping gas — depends on how long the crackdown lasts. . But he said there was hope that the climate action already underway in both countries would matter more than unsaid words.
“China’s announcement that it is suspending talks on climate change is not surprising, but it certainly stings,” said Joanna Lewis, an expert on China, energy and climate at Georgetown University. “I hope this is only a temporary break.”
The brief notice issued by China’s foreign ministry on Friday provided few details and focused largely on halting military and strategic meetings.
Lewis said the halting of climate talks between the US and China affects progress at the global climate summit in November and direct cooperation on thorny technical issues, particularly those related to reducing methane emissions.
US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said Friday: “Suspending cooperation does not punish the United States – it punishes the world, especially the developing world. Human and financial costs would be disastrous” if countries cannot set aside differences to address climate change.
climate action at home
Experts say that just because the two countries are not talking to each other about climate, it does not mean that they are not taking action.
“The US and China really have to take strong action domestically to curb emissions – and I don’t think the main impetus for both sides right now is the pressure of international dialogue,” said Deborah Seligsohn, an expert on Chinese politics. Energy at Villanova University and a former US diplomat.
Alden Meyer, a longtime climate talks analyst at independent think tank E3G, said the US has a good prospect and then in response, China is taking big steps to try to limit emissions of heat-trapping gases – even if They are not talking about the same thing – one on one.
The US Congress is set to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, a deal negotiated by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Calling it America’s “most important climate bill ever,” Nigel Purvis, CEO of Climate Advisors, said the passage would be more meaningful than a breakdown in bilateral talks. “China has to respond to the new climate change bill that is coming out of Congress, even if climate talks are suspended,” he said.
In particular, a pledge of public investment in the development and commercialization of advanced clean technologies will attract China’s attention, experts say. This is because China hopes to dominate the global clean energy markets.
“It is important that the US and China have taken arguably the two biggest domestic actions on climate change at a time of ever-increasing rivalry between the two countries – perhaps there is a lesson in this,” said Scott Moore, director of programs for China. and Strategic Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania.
While the US is set to pass its most important climate law this year, Chinese leader Xi Jinping announced the country’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2060 at a UN meeting in September 2020. And Xi vowed that China would stop coal-fired manufacturing abroad. The power plant at the United Nations meeting last year.
Given their differing government systems, “what matters most in China is top-level targets, while in the US what really matters is passing laws,” Villanova’s Seligsohn said.