Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned United States climate envoy John Kerry on Thursday that backsliding US-China relations could negatively impact areas of cooperation, such as climate change discussions.
Wang told Kerry that cooperation on climate change issues could not be divorced from the larger and complicated matter of US-Chinese relations.
He added that joint efforts to combat global warming were an "oasis," but added: "Surrounding the oasis is a desert, and the oasis could be desertified very soon."
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs put out a statement calling on the United States to take steps to improve ties.
Climate change confab in Tianjin
Kerry, a former US secretary of state and now President Joe Biden's climate change envoy, met with his counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, in the southern city of Tianjin. Kerry said China "plays a super-critical role in fighting climate change," according to a clip aired on China's international state broadcaster CGTN.
For its part, the US State Department reiterated its commitment to seeking global cooperation on this issue of climate change, urging China to take steps to reduce emissions.
China: addicted to coal
China is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, followed by the US. However, unlike the US, China obtains roughly 60% of its power from coal.
Despite being one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gases, China plans to build more coal-fired power plants.
China plans to gradually reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and has set ambitious climate goals.
By 2025, China hopes 20% of the country's total energy consumption will come from renewables. China aspires to be carbon-neutral by 2060.
By contrast, Biden hopes to cut up to 52% of greenhouse emissions by 2030.
ar/sms (AP, Reuters)