U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said talks this week with his Chinese counterpart resulted in “some agreement” on climate issues that leave him optimistic about the U.N. climate summit scheduled for later this month in Dubai.
Speaking at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore, Kerry said Friday that he met for four days this week with Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua in California. He described their talks as “productive” and, without providing details, said they had reached “some agreement on reducing emissions and the direction we have to go.”
Kerry said, “I am hopeful about that,” adding that details of the agreements would be released soon.
The U.N. Climate Change Conference, known as COP28, is scheduled for the end of this month. The climate conference seeks to meet and expand on climate goals established during the Paris agreement of 2015, in which some 200 nations agreed to limit the rise of global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or about pre-industrial age levels.
Kerry said the goal, as in the previous climate conferences, “is to open up the opportunity to keep 1.5 degrees alive.”
Any agreements between the United States and China — the world’s two largest polluters — would be integral to the success of the conference.
The U.S. climate envoy said the use of fossil fuels — coal in particular — is likely to be a central part of the discussion at the conference. China is the world’s largest user of fossil fuels and relies on coal for most of its energy production.
In comments at the Singapore forum Friday, Kerry said, “It is irresponsible to be funding or building a coal-fired power plant anywhere in the world. And who is allowed to get away with doing that, when it is not the only option for what we could be doing.”
Reuters reports Xie told a diplomatic climate forum in September that phasing out fossil fuels is “unrealistic” for China.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters and Agence France-Presse.