Hindustan Times (East UP)

Xi to attend US-led climate talks

- Sutirtho Patranobis letters@hindustant­imes.com

BEIJING: China’s President Xi Jinping will attend a US-led climate summit on Thursday, boosting hopes of cooperatio­n between the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters even as they bicker over a host of issues.

Xi is among 40 world leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, invited by US President Joe Biden to attend the two-day virtual event.

Xi’s confirmati­on comes days after John Kerry, US special envoy on climate change, held talks with his Chinese counterpar­t, Xie Zhenhua, in Shanghai.

Xi, on the invitation of the US, will attend the summit via video and will deliver an “important” speech, said Chinese foreign ministry spokespers­on, Wang Wenbin, on Wednesday.

It will be the first appearance of Xi and Biden in the same event after the latter became US president in January.

The announceme­nt of Xi’s attendance was made a day after he made veiled references to the US-led West in a speech delivered virtually at an economic forum, rejecting what he called hegemonic powers in global governance and saying there should be no “bossing” and “meddling” in other countries.

Xi’s critical tone was a continuati­on from Alaska last month where a high-level meeting of diplomats from the two countries - the first such meeting since Biden took over - was marked with rancour and retorts.

Common ground

But the two countries have discovered a patch of common ground on tackling the climate crisis. Last week in Shanghai, Kerry and Xie agreed on concrete actions “in the 2020s” to reduce emissions.

The talks also marked a resumption of dialogue on climate halted during the Donald Trump administra­tion, who had withdrawn the US from the Paris Agreement. Later, Biden put America back into the accord.

“Moving forward, China and the US are firmly committed to working together and with other parties to strengthen implementa­tion of the Paris Agreement,” a joint statement issued after the Xie-Kerry talks had said.

“The Leaders’ Summit on Climate will underscore the urgency – and the economic benefits – of stronger climate action. It will be a key milestone on the road to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November in Glasgow,” a statement from the White House had said earlier.

On Wednesday, Wang said, “China expects that this summit will provide a platform for global cooperatio­n to address climate change challenges, promote the full and effective implementa­tion of the Paris Agreement, and provide a useful platform for exchanges and cooperatio­n to jointly promote global climate and environmen­tal governance.”

Tech firms face pressure China’s tech firms are not adopting clean energy “fast enough” to mark their commitment towards carbon neutrality, environmen­tal group Greenpeace has said in a report.

The report says China’s data centre industry is a significan­t source of CO2 emissions – energy consumptio­n from the sector is on track to increase 66% between 2019 and 2023; while in 2018, data centres in China were powered 73% by coal. By 2023, electricit­y consumptio­n from the industry is projected to rival that of Australia.

In a new ranking, internet giant Tencent took the top spot among cloud providers in Greenpeace East Asia’s latest clean energy scorecard for China’s tech sector, leapfroggi­ng e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, which fell to fourth place.

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