July 17 (UPI) — US special climate envoy John Kerry started his three-day mission to China by praising the communist country for expanding renewables while Beijing reduces its use of coal power.
Kerry was set to open the trip with a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua as the two nations — both among the world’s largest polluters — look to rekindle climate talks.
“China has been doing an incredible job of building out renewables,” Kerry said. But on the other hand, we see new coal coming online which undoes the benefit of that.
Despite its contribution to pollution, China, which has promised to become carbon neutral by 2060, is also the world’s largest renewable energy producer, leading the way in solar and wind energy.
Global Energy Monitor, a California-based environmental nonprofit, said China could reach its 2030 goal of generating 1,200 gigawatts of renewable energy ahead of schedule because of its aggressive installation pace.
Kerry on Monday pushed for China to slow down the expansion of its coal-fired power plants.
“The world and the climate crisis demand that we make progress rapidly and significantly,” Kerry said. “It is vital that we come together to take action.”
Kerry became the latest member of the Biden administration to visit China in a proactive push to lower the tension between the two countries. Secretary Janet Yellen visited Beijing Treasury earlier this month and Secretary of State Antony Blinken made his own trip last month.
Kerry’s previous efforts to work with China had stalled after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, which China considers a breakaway province and a violation of the so-called “One China” doctrine.
In the next three days, we hope we can begin taking some big steps that will send a signal to the world about the serious purpose of China and the United States to address a common risk, threat, and challenge to all of humanity created by humans themselves,” Kerry said on Monday before his four-hour meeting with his Chinese counterpart.
Kerry said on Monday that the United States and China must find common ground outside of politics to work together on climate challenges.
“This is not a political issue,” Kerry said. “This is not a bilateral issue or an ideological issue. This is real life unfolding before our eyes as a consequence of the choices we make or don’t make.”