Despite tensions, the US and China agree to work together on climate change

The White House has indicated that Mr. Biden will announce more ambitious plans to reduce emissions domestically, after four years in which his predecessor, Donald J. Trump, discredited the issue.

“We’ve seen commitments before where everyone falls short,” said Mr Kerry. “I mean, frankly, we all fall short. The whole world is falling short right now. This is not a one country exercise just pointing the finger. “

Mr. Kerry met his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, in Shanghai for three days, in talks that continued well into the night at one point. Mr Kerry said they remained focused on climate change and did not respond to increasingly resentful disputes over issues such as China’s political crackdown in Hong Kong and its threats against Taiwan.

On Friday, even as the two envoys met, the State Department criticized harsh prison sentences handed down in Hong Kong against prominent pro-democracy leaders, including Jimmy Lai, a 72-year-old newspaper magnate. On the same day, China warned the United States and Japan against “collusion” when Mr. Biden met Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in the White House, with China’s rising ambitions being one of the key issues on the table.

Chinese officials and the state news media took notice of Mr. Kerry, but clearly declined and instead focused on Mr. Xi. But in the joint statement with the United States, the Chinese government promised to do more about the climate, but without specifying specific steps.

The statement said both countries would develop “long-term strategies” to achieve carbon neutrality – the point at which a country emits no more carbon than it takes from the atmosphere – before the next international climate conference in November, in Glasgow.

In a joint statement following the White House meetings between Mr. Biden and Mr. Suga, the United States and Japan said they plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 by promoting renewables, energy efficiency and storage, and through innovations in collection and recycling. carbon from the atmosphere.