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COP27 U.S., Chinese envoys meet at climate summit in Egypt

By Frank Jordans, Seth Borenstein and Kelvin Chan

The Associated Press

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, EGYPT>>

U.S. climate envoy John Kerrymet Tuesday with his Chinese counterpart at the 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 fullfledged 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.

“They are killing us daily and they are here in the heart of international talks. They are accepted like normal people, but they are not,” activist Svitlana Romanko shouted at the event 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 copewith awarming 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.

“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.

 

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