Argus Website Welcome, Guest | Log In Washington, 3 September (Argus) — China is responding coolly to US overtures to cooperate on climate change ahead of UN summit in November while relations between the two countries are worsening on nearly every other front. The US should remove the "stumbling blocks" on climate change cooperation, senior Chinese officials told US presidential climate envoy John Kerry on his visit to China this week. That suggests Beijing views the decarbonization agenda through the prism of the overall bilateral relations. Kerry is on a week-long tour of major northeast Asia economies to urge them to present ambitious plans for cutting greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the UN's upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP 26) summit in Glasgow, Scotland. China, the world's largest carbon emitter, has yet to detail how it plans to cap emissions growth by 2030 and achieve "carbon neutrality" by 2060. And US president Joe Biden's domestic opponents view his decarbonization plans as eroding the US' competitive edge in China's favor. "If we are not able to find a way to cooperate and to work together to achieve greater climate ambitions, it is not only to our mutual detriment — it is to the broader detriment of the international community," the State Department said yesterday at the conclusion of Kerry's visit to China. Washington views climate as an exception to the Biden administration's overall view of China as an economic competitor and a strategic adversary. Kerry's high profile as a former US secretary of state at least secured virtual meetings with China's foreign minister Wang Yi and Yang Jiechi, the Chinese Communist Party's top official overseeing foreign relations. But their message to him was not encouraging. China is ready to step up "policy exchanges and pragmatic cooperation" with the US to implement the Paris climate agreement, but the US should "take into consideration the common interests of the two sides and its long-term interests, take concrete steps to rectify wrongdoings and view China and bilateral relations in an objective and rational manner," Yang told Kerry. Kerry's face-to-face meetings with his Chinese counterparts took place in Tianjin, a northeast China city near Beijing, a reminder of the strict travel restriction policy in effect as China tries to prevent fresh Covid-19 outbreaks. The Chinese delegation members who met with Kerry will have to be quarantined for two weeks, "but we are willing to pay that price to discuss cooperation with the US on affairs of mutual concerns," Wang told Kerry. The two governments have outlined different pathways to reducing carbon emissions. Beijing is leaning on state-run energy and industrial firms to champion its carbon neutrality agenda and has launched the world's largest emissions trading scheme, even though low trading volumes and restricted participation mean its significance remains largely symbolic for now. Biden's climate agenda in part depends on the passage of multi-trillion dollar infrastructure and budget spending plans, while nationwide emissions trading or carbon pricing schemes are not politically feasible. Trade relations between the US and China also show no signs of progress, with high tariffs affecting the bulk of the trade volume. The "phase one" deal that envisaged China stepping up purchases of US products in 2020-21 is drawing to an end, and the Biden administration has not shown any interest in extending it. China has met about 42-53pc of its purchase commitments on crude and other energy commodities so far this year, according to analysis of US and China trade data by Washington think tank Peterson Institute. US crude exports to China averaged 270,000 b/d in January-July. By Haik Gugarats Send comments and request more information at Copyright © 2021. Argus Media group. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2021 Argus Media group