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A Chinese official said Tuesday that his country still wants to cooperate with the U.S. on climate change and hopes an upcoming meeting on the issue in Germany will produce a draft agreement on implementing the Paris climate accord.
China’s Special Representative on Climate Change Xie Zhenhua told reporters that China wants to boost joint efforts in clean energy, carbon capture and research.
“China is willing to step up cooperation with the United States in climate change negotiations after the United States said it will stay in the talks although it has withdrawn from the accord,” Xie said.
After President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris accord in June, China swiftly recommitted itself to the nonbinding agreement.
Despite its withdrawal from the agreement, the U.S. will continue to participate in international meetings and negotiations on current and future climate change deals. The next meeting is in Bonn, Germany, next month.
China is by far the world’s largest user of coal and is the No. 1 emitter of climate-changing greenhouse gases, and Xie said he was hopeful that participants would agree on a draft of guidelines that would help put the Paris agreement into effect.
China has said its greenhouse gas emissions will peak no later than 2030 under the Paris pact, and start to fall after then.
The government has canceled the planned construction of more than 100 new coal-fired power plants and plans to invest at least $360 billion in green-energy projects by the end of the decade. The nation’s consumption of coal fell in 2016 for a third consecutive year, but rebounded slightly in 2017.
The Paris agreement aims to prevent the Earth from heating up by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since the start of the industrial age.
The world has already warmed about 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) since the Industrial Revolution. The overwhelming majority of scientists say the burning of coal, oil and gas is causing the Earth’s climate to change because of heat-trapping gases.
The earliest the U.S. can officially be out of the climate agreement is Nov. 4, 2020 — the day after the next presidential election.