John Kerry says US satellites will monitor China’s climate progress

President Biden’s climate summit last week elicited updated promises on reducing emissions from major emitters but not China or Russia

Louise Boyle
Senior Climate Correspondent, New York
Monday 26 April 2021 17:07
Comments

Related video: Putin speaks at US climate summit

Leer en Español

John Kerry, President Joe Biden’s international climate envoy, has said that the US will use satellites to monitor China’s progress on commitments to tackle the climate crisis.

The US hosted a virtual climate summit last week which elicited new emissions targets from South Korea, Japan, Canada and South Africa but not China, the world’s largest carbon emitter.

China’s President Xi Jinping told the summit that China would work alongside the US on climate and reiterated his announcement from last year that the superpower aims to reach peak emissions by 2030. He also said that China would “strictly control” coal projects, and limit increases of the fossil fuel over the next five years before phasing down.

Former secretary of state Mr Kerry toldThe Times that while China’s statements on coal reduction were a positive sign, the US was not taking any promises at “face value”.

“What we’ll do here is verify. We have massive capacity with satellites to know exactly what’s being produced where — and that will be true for all major corporations with major supply chains, we’ll know what they’re doing,” Mr Kerry told the newspaper.

“We know a lot about the Chinese coal structure, we’ve had long discussions about it and now we have to have some very direct conversations about where they are actually headed versus the rhetoric. But there’s no naivety, trust me.”

The US climate summit, attended by 40 world leaders, was aimed at driving ambition ahead of the United Nations climate summit, the Cop26, in Glasgow this November.

The White House said that pledges made around the US event, which also came from the EU and UK, now means more than half the global economy is committed to the pace of emission reductions required to keep to a 1.5C target.

Scientists warn that to avoid greater climate catastrophe, the average global temperature needs to remain well below 2 degrees Celsius (C), with an aim of an increasingly ambitious 1.5C goal. The planet is currently on track for more than 3C of global heating by end of the century.

Mr Kerry told The Times that ahead of the Glasgow summit, his focus would be on China and Russia. The latter is the world’s fourth largest emitter after the US and India. The climate envoy said that he intended to travel to Russia, adding that it was time for “the hard diplomacy”.

For its part, the US administration has pledged to cut carbon emissions as much as 52 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

Mr Biden’s announcement last week now means that the US ranks among the most ambitious nations in tackling the climate crisis, according to research group Rhodium.

The promise will require a dramatic overhaul of how America runs: sweeping changes to the power sector and transportation, and rapid transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in