Climate envoys’ meet to help rebuild trust after Alaska dialogue
Published: Mar 23, 2021 10:43 PM
climate Photo:VCG


The engagement of Chinese and US climate envoys at China co-hosted virtual multilateral talks on Tuesday would serve as a good start for direct bilateral communications and more detailed actions between the two biggest emitters in the world, whose current primary work on the issues is to rebuild mutual trust and manage differences, observers said.

Xie Zhenhua, China's climate envoy, and his US counterpart John Kerry will participate in the 5th Session of the Ministerial on Climate Action (MoCA) on Tuesday night Beijing time, with the European Union, China and Canada as organizers, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan disclosed on Monday in an interview that Xie and Kerry will meet, but he did not give an exact date, Reuters reported. And the event marks the first formal engagement of the two climate envoys under Biden's presidency.

Xie, China's veteran climate negotiator, became China's special envoy on climate change in late February. Kerry was named special climate envoy in November 2020 by then President-elect Joe Biden. 

China and the US had established such a joint working group on climate change before. As early as in April 2013, the China-US Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) was formed under the China-US Joint Announcement on Climate Change. Xie and Kerry were key figures behind the CCWG at that time.

China and the US' possible cooperation on climate change have been considered by observers as pivotal to thawing the icy relationship between the two countries in many aspects over the past few years.

Starting from a multilateral dialogue, China and the US could gradually move to direct talks on climate issues and conduct more practical actions, they said.

On tackling climate change, the primary work for China and US is to rebuild trust, initiate effective communication and manage differences, Ma Jun, director of the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Through communication between acquaintances, China and the US can understand each other's stance, Ma said. 

Before the MoCA, China and the US agreed to establish a joint working group to tackle climate change through the high-level strategic dialogue in Alaska. They have committed to enhancing communication and cooperation in the field of climate change, according to the Chinese delegation.

Biden announced just after taking office that the US will host a climate summit of presidents and prime ministers to tackle climate change on April 22, the Earth Day. 

The Ministerial on Climate Action is an annual meeting attended by ministers and high-level representatives from over 30 countries, including ministers from the G20 and chairs of key party groupings in the UN climate negotiations, according to the EU.

In previous sessions, Xie attended the conference at least twice as China's representative.