By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 10 (Reuters) – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday urged the United States and China to prevent any issues between the superpowers from undermining cooperation to tackle climate change before the UN climate change conference COP26 next month.
Ties between the world’s two largest economies are languishing at their lowest in decades on issues ranging from human rights to transparency about the origins of COVID-19.
“We understand that there are problems in the relations between the United States and China, but these problems do not interfere with the needs of the United States and China to do everything possible to ensure that the COP is a success, regardless of the relationship between the two, ”Guterres told reporters.
During a visit to China last week by US Climate Envoy John Kerry, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/china-holds -virtual-climate-meeting-with-us- describes-environment-policy-oasis-2021-09-02 Climate change was an “oasis” in China-US relations, but could not be separated from broader disputes.
US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping discussed climate change on a phone call https://www.reuters.com/world/china/biden-chinas-xi-discuss-managing-competition-avoiding- conflict-call-2021- 09-10 on Thursday. Xi said that if the “main concerns” on both sides are met, progress could still be made in the area of climate change.
The COP26 meeting in Glasgow, Scotland is seen as a crucial chance to secure more ambitious country-by-country commitments to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and keep the rise in global average temperature well below 2 degrees Celsius this century.
“We need a stronger commitment from the United States, especially in development finance, on development issues related to climate, mitigation, adaptation, and we need an additional effort from the United States. China as far as emissions are concerned, ”Guterres said on Friday.
“But (…) we are talking about a multilateral process in which all countries must engage, on the basis of their own commitment to climate action,” he stressed.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Jonathan Oatis)