John Kerry, the special envoy on climate to the US president, has urged China to come back to negotiations after both countries have stopped all talks. Mr Kerry said: “China is 30% of all emissions. We need to get China.”
The envoy added: “I think China and the US must inevitably work together to do the things we need to do to win this battle [on the climate]. And I’m really very concerned about the interruption that has taken place due to events that are nothing to do with climate.
“It’s been impossible, really. China has pulled out of the talks for now.”
The envoy has claimed the Chinese government were engaging in “wolf diplomacy” and was treating climate change “like all the other issues” that has led to “suspension [though] not a termination”.
He said: “I personally vehemently disagree with that. Climate is a universal issue, a universal threat. Without political ideology, without political party. It does not represent global competition.
“It represents a global threat to the world, which the two largest emitters and two largest economies could greatly benefit the world by coming together and cooperating to try to deal with it.”
Tensions between China and the US have risen due to the speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi visiting Taiwan in the summer.
The US politician offered her “unwavering commitment” to Taiwan and said: “America’s solidarity with the 23 million people of Taiwan is more important today than ever, as the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy.”
China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province that it will one day retake, but Taiwan states they are an independent country.
The visit by Ms Pelosi greatly offended the Chinese government, and in response to the trip, China began to hold a series of military drills around Taiwan.
Relations between the US and China have broken down ever since.
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Last year cooperation between both countries seemed more promising than ever after both countries promised to work together to cut down greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade.
The announcement came at COP26, the United Nations climate conference, and it meant two of the world’s biggest gas emitters would work closely together at a time scientists say the next ten years are crucial for limiting the damage of the climate crisis.
The Chinese envoy at the summit, Xie Zhenhua, said: “Climate change is becoming an increasingly urgent challenge. We hope this joint declaration will help to achieve success at Cop26.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping at the time said: “All of us can embark on a path of green, low-carbon sustainable development.
“Together, we can usher in a future of green development.”
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The next climate change conference, COP27 will take place this November in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
Mr Kerry believes China not cooperating would not destroy climate change progress, but could cause problems.
He said: “It won’t necessarily stop the [UN] process from working at all. It will lessen the presentation that we would jointly be able to make about our cooperation, of what it can do for dealing with the crisis, which I regret – I would like to do.”
The envoy also stated that if countries who were at COP26 were able to keep their promise of limiting temperature rises, the world would still not make their target temperatures, so more countries must be brought into negotiations.
He said: “You have to bring some of that 35 percent to the table to advance this, which was why I was in Indonesia, Vietnam, why we are working with India and South Africa and Mexico, and so forth.
“We’re just getting on the move, nobody’s really noted it. But there is not enough indication yet that there’s a critical mass of the 35 percent ready to move sufficiently.”