According to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang told Kerry that cooperation in this area cannot be separated from the wider relationship and urged the United States to take steps to improve bilateral relations.
Kerry, who is in the Chinese city of Tianjin to address the climate issue with his Chinese counterparts, said the US is committed to cooperating with the rest of the world on climate and that China should reduce emissions, according to a statement. encouraged to take further steps. from the US State Department.
According to a short video broadcast by CGTN, the international arm of state broadcaster CCTV, former Secretary of State Kerry also said that China plays an “extremely important role” in tackling climate change.
China is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, followed by the United States.
Relations between Washington and Beijing have deteriorated in recent years, marked by disputes over trade, technology or human rights. However, both sides identified the climate crisis as an area of potential cooperation.
“China and the United States have differences of opinion on some issues, but we have common interests in many areas, such as climate change,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a news conference.
“The two sides should maintain dialogue and communication based on mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation,” Wang said.
China continues to obtain about 60% of its energy supply from burning coal. The country plans to build more coal-fired factories, but is committed to reducing its use of fossil fuels.
Beijing cited historic US emissions as a reason to oppose more drastic measures while making progress in solar and other renewable energy sources.
China has set a target to generate 20% of the country’s total energy consumption from renewable sources by 2025, which will be carbon neutral by 2060.
US President Joe Biden announced a goal of reducing US greenhouse gas emissions by 52 percent by 2030 – double the target set by President Barack Obama in the 2015 climate agreement – during the summit in Paris.
The 2030 target puts the US at the top of the list of countries with climate ambitions.
Kerry called for greater efforts to keep rising temperatures no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. He urged China to join the US in cutting carbon emissions immediately.
Kerry was also in Japan on Tuesday to discuss climate issues with Japanese officials before leaving for China.
Global decarbonization efforts will be discussed during the United Nations conference to be held in Glasgow, Scotland in late November, known as COP26.