Xi Jinping to attend Joe Biden’s virtual climate summit
This will be the first official meeting between the two leaders, a sign of thawing relations between the two powers. Washington and Beijing seem ready to cooperate on combating climate change. The Chinese want greater commitment from developed countries. Analysts doubt China will be carbon neutral by 2060.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – Xi Jinping will attend the US-organised virtual climate summit tomorrow. This will be the first official meeting with his US counterpart Joe Biden.
China’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that Xi would attend the Earth day summit and that he will address the meeting via video link.
Some 40 heads of state and government were invited to the summit, and Xi's presence is the first sign that Beijing and Washington will cooperate after years of tough confrontation.
Despite their overall geopolitical conflict, the two powers seem intent on working together at least in the fight against global warming.
Their commitment was underscored last week in Shanghai by a meeting between US special envoy on climate change John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua. Differences remain however.
China is the world's largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions, and the Biden administration is calling on Xi to adopt more ambitious targets to reduce pollution.
Conversely, China is holding onto its traditional position, namely that developed nations must contribute more to tackle climate change, while there should be help for developing countries, including China, to achieve their carbon emission reduction goals.
China now accounts for 28 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Xi has pledged to cut emissions per unit of gross domestic production, or carbon intensity, by more than 65 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2060.
Biden is set to announce that the US will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, according to Associated Press, citing White House sources.
According to several analysts, Xi's targets are currently unreachable. Concerns over energy security and economic stability, combined with the financial problems of China’s local governments and large state industries, are behind the ongoing use of fossil fuels, especially coal.