US, China climate envoys meet at COP27 summit in Egypt

Nov 15, 2022, 1:30 AM | Updated: 11:21 am

Ruslan Edelgeriev, special presidential representative on climate issues of Russia, speaks at the C...

Ruslan Edelgeriev, special presidential representative on climate issues of Russia, speaks at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

(AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — U.S. climate envoy John Kerry met Tuesday with his Chinese counterpart at annual United Nations climate negotiations in Egypt in a further hint of improving relations between the world’s top two polluters, seen as vital for substantial progress against global warming.

The meeting between Kerry and China’s top climate official Xie Zhenhua raised prospects for a full-fledged resumption of climate talks between the two countries, which Beijing put on hold three months ago in retaliation for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan.

Kerry and Xie met for about 45 minutes at the Chinese delegation’s offices in the COP27 conference zone. Neither side revealed much after it was over. The Chinese officials left without commenting.

“We had a very good meeting,” Kerry said. It was “much too early” to talk about any remaining differences, he said. “But we’re gonna go to work.” A day earlier, Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed with U.S. President Joe Biden to resume the talks.

Other geopolitical tensions flared up. A handful of European Union delegates walked out of a plenary speech by Russia’s special climate representative, Ruslan Edelgeriev, and a small group of Ukrainian and Polish activists briefly disrupted a Russian side event. “You are a war criminal. You are all war criminals,” one of the activists shouted at the Russian officials on stage as she was led away by security.

Government ministers are pushing for a substantial climate deal by the time the meeting is supposed to wrap up on Friday. Officials from developing nations, meanwhile, have been increasingly lashing out in anger and frustration at wealthy countries at the gathering, known as COP27, condemning them for not doing enough to cut back emissions or help them cope with a warming Earth.

The Associated Press obtained a first draft of the overarching decision proposed by Egypt, which touches on many of the points that delegations say are important to them, including reducing emissions, adapting to climate change, providing funding for poor nations suffering loss and damage caused by extreme weather, and sticking to the limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming.

It doesn’t explicitly mention a proposal from India calling for a phase down of fossil fuel use, disappointing green groups. Last year’s Conference of the Parties, or COP, ended with a call to phase down coal.

“While this is merely a skeleton of the Egyptian presidency’s draft of a COP cover note, Greenpeace is shocked that it has no backbone,” the environmental group said in a statement.

EU climate chief Frans Timmermans said the bloc’s position is that “obviously we’re all in favor of phasing down any fossil fuels” but this shouldn’t undermine the goal of ending use of coal, the most polluting fossil fuel.

Egyptian diplomat Wael Aboulmagd, speaking for the chair of the meeting, said a more detailed draft of the so-called cover decision would be circulated following consultations with delegations later Tuesday. He didn’t rule out a call to end fossil fuel use in the final text.

Another major sticking point has been the issue of “loss and damage,” with developing countries demanding richer industrialized nations — whose emissions have been the main cause of climate change — pay for damages already being wreaked on them by climate-related disasters.

China and a broad group of developing countries known as the G77 put forward a proposal to create a such a fund into which developing nations would pay. The draft proposal, seen by The Associated Press, calls for the fund’s rules to be finalized by the next U.N. climate talks in 2024.

The U.S. and other developed countries have made clear they won’t agree to a fund that implies legal liability for climate change.

A string of officials from poorer countries — particularly island nations — expressed their fury at the reluctance in speeches or in remarks to journalists Tuesday.

Delaying tactics anger “people like ourselves who are at the frontline, in the front of the impact of climate change and sea level rise, when in fact we do not cause climate change,” Seve Paeniu, the head of the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu’s delegation, told the Associated Press.

The ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the U.N. said his nation won’t leave the summit without the establishment of a “loss and damage” fund, and he slammed developed nations for continuing to use or even ramping up fossil fuels.

“The system is being gamed at our expense … and the expense of future generations,” Conrod Hunte said, denouncing “the inaction of many developed countries.”

The climate change minister of Nauru, another Pacific nation, denounced what he called pressure on vulnerable countries to compromise.

“We have allowed ourselves to become props in environmental campaigns,” Rennier Gadabu said, in one of the more powerful speeches to delegates.

“The decision makers, those with real powers, simply do not care,” Gadabu said. “They do not care about the communities that will be displaced and destroyed. They do not care about the food and water shortages that ravage poor countries. All they care about is power, pure and simple.”

Samoa’s prime minister appealed to countries to respond as strongly to the threat of global warming as they did to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fiame Naomi Mata?afa said her country and other Pacific states are “at the mercy of climate change and our survival hangs in the rush of the climate hourglass.”

Timmermans said the EU is willing to address demands for “loss and damage” money “including new funding arrangements,” he said, but indicated this would take time.

There were also some pledges for improved greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets, which didn’t satisfy green groups.

Timmermans said the EU is raising its target for emissions reductions by 2030, albeit slightly to 57%, from the existing 55% pledge, compared with 1990 levels. He said the increase showed the EU was not “backtracking” on its commitments because of the energy crisis sparked by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Environmental groups compared the EU’s increased target to breadcrumbs, saying a fair share should be at least 65% by 2030.

Turkey’s environment minister Murat Kurum, meanwhile, said its target is rising to 41% from the existing 21% goal. Green groups said while the numbers look good that’s because Turkey had been proposing to raise its emissions by a third in the same time frame, so the higher amount would need a bigger cut.

Also Tuesday, Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate slammed world leaders who persist in backing new fossil fuel projects despite science warnings that this will push temperatures across the planet to dangerous highs.


Associated Press journalists Olivia Zhang and David Keyton contributed to this report.


Follow AP’s climate and environment coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment


Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Republican presidential candidates, from left, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former New Jers...

Associated Press

3rd Republican presidential debate is set for Nov. 8 in Miami, with the strictest qualifications yet

The third Republican presidential debate will be held in Miami on Nov. 8, a day after several states hold off-year elections.

5 days ago

During the equinox, the Earth’s axis and its orbit line up so that both hemispheres get an equal ...

Associated Press

The fall equinox is here. What does that mean?

The equinox arrives on Saturday, marking the start of the fall season for the Northern Hemisphere. But what does that actually mean?

5 days ago

Ray Epps Ray Epps, an Arizona man who became the center of a conspiracy theory about Jan. 6, 2021, ...

Associated Press

Ray Epps, an Arizona man who supported Trump, pleads guilty to Capital riot charge

Ray Epps, the target of a conspiracy theory about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge.

7 days ago

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, to ...

Associated Press

Trump refuses to say in a TV interview how he watched the Jan. 6 attack unfold at the US Capitol

Former President Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday to answer questions about whether he watched the Capitol riot.

10 days ago

This frame grab from video, provided by the Mexican government, shows Ovidio Guzman Lopez being det...

Associated Press

Mexico extradites son of ‘El Chapo,’ Ovidio Guzman Lopez to US

The son of notorious cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán, Ovidio Guzman Lopez was extradited to the U.S. on Friday.

11 days ago

impeachments in US history...

Associated Press

A look at notable impeachments in US history, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was acquitted Saturday on during his impeachment trial. Here's a roundup of impeachments in U.S. history.

11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Home moving relocation in Arizona 2023...

BMS Moving

Tips for making your move in Arizona easier

If you're moving to a new home in Arizona, use this to-do list to alleviate some stress and ensure a smoother transition to your new home.


Ignite Digital

How to unlock the power of digital marketing for Phoenix businesses

All businesses around the Valley hopes to maximize their ROI with current customers and secure a greater market share in the digital sphere.



When most diets fail, re:vitalize makes a difference that shows

Staying healthy and losing weight are things many people in Arizona are conscious of, especially during the summer.

US, China climate envoys meet at COP27 summit in Egypt