The US’s climate envoy John Kerry will press Chinese leaders to declare a moratorium on funding coal-fired projects.
Kerry plans to visit China next week to request that Beijing formally halts funding for coal based projects as part of plans to reduce global emissions.
So far this year, Beijing has not offered any financing to new coal projects under the Belt and Road Initiative, the Chinese Communist Party’s flagship global infrastructure project, which distributed $19.3m in overseas funding during the first half of the year.
Mr Kerry’s upcoming trip will be the third trip to China by a senior Biden administration official for five months as the US amps up pressure on Beijing to agree formal fossil fuel commitments.
China is a signatory of the Paris Climate Agreement, however, the country sees emissions as essential to its economic development. In a speech last year China’s President Xi Jinping, said China will accelerate emissions until 2030 and achieve net-zero by 2060.
This timeline could scupper global efforts to keep warming within the target of 1.5°C by the end of the decade. China is by far the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, contributing 27 per cent of emissions in 2019 while the US, the second worst offender, trailed behind at 11 per cent.
In a speech last month, Mr Kerry pointed out that if China were to stick to its current climate plan, the rest of the world would have to achieve net zero emissions by 2040 or earlier to solve the climate crisis.
With the UN’s COP26 climate conference just around the corner the race is on to achieve tangible commitments from the world’s worst polluters.
However, it seems unlikely that the Asian superpower, which aims to be a rule-maker rather than a rule-taker within the international system, will want to be seen caving to US pressure.