China Briefing, 2 September 2021: Kerry meeting Xie in Tianjin; Sharma ‘heading to China’; Lockdown’s impact on climate

Kerry discussing key elements of the climate crisis in China.

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Following Kerrys steps to the Far East is most likely to be Alok Sharma, president-designate for COP26. Politico reported recently that Sharma “is heading to China in September”, citing “a person informed on the planning for the journey”. 2 professionals informed Carbon Brief that Sharma could also be consulting with Xie, if the trip occurs..

POSSIBLE TOPICS: Kerry “will press Chinese leaders to declare a moratorium on financing global coal-fired jobs” during this journey, the Wall Street Journal reported last Thursday, citing “individuals familiar with the matter”. Kerry informed Chinese vice-premier Han today there is “no chance” for the world to resolve environment change without Chinas “full engagement and dedication,” reported AP, pricing quote the United States State Department. Edmund Downie, who recently published analysis of Chinas decarbonisation promises, informed Carbon Brief that a ban on cross-border coal projects was “a possibility” by China as an outcome of this round of talks, partially due to the fact that it “formalises whats currently taking place”. Downie, a non-resident fellow at the SIPA Center on Global Energy Policy of Columbia University in the US, stated:” [China] has not moneyed any new foreign coal plants or investments this year and signals from both regulators and banks confirm that this must be a long-term shift.”.

CHINAS RESPONSE: China cautioned the United States on Wednesday that their “strained relations might sink climate cooperation”, reported the New York Times. According to an official Chinese transcript, Wang Yi, Beijings foreign minister, told Kerry that the United States had actually hoped the environment change cooperation to end up being “a sanctuary” in Sino-US relations. If the “sanctuary” was surrounded by “deserts”, it would be “desertified” faster or later on, Wang added. The Chinese official then stressed that it would be “impossible” for the 2 nations climate change cooperation to be separated from the “general environment of China-US relations”. The Washington Post, Financial Times, Reuters and Chinas state-run outlet CGTN included Wangs remarks. The South China Morning Post reported that after his meeting with Han, Kerry will also go to a video conference with state councillor Yang Jiechi– previously, a seasoned diplomat to the US– on Thursday. The publication cited “a source knowledgeable about the arrangements who asked for anonymity”.

New science.

LEADERS GROUP: Chinas carbon “leaders group” has actually established a “workgroup” to coordinate the calculation and organise and verification of the carbon emissions of the whole country, as well as those of various areas and markets. Carbon Briefs explainer released in June evaluated the significance of the environment “leaders group”.

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A new paper has actually found that the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the production expenses of eco-friendly energy facilities and “undermines” the profitability of renewable resource investment. The researchers also discovered that green financing policies, such as carbon prices, tradable green certificate (TGC) and green credit, “can offer affordable financial resources” and “counteract the adverse results” of the pandemic. Furthermore, the analysis likewise revealed that green financing policy in China is still at “the early stage of advancement”, Dr Mo Jianlei, the papers matching author, told Carbon Brief. Dr Mo, from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, stated that the research study showed that the single policy instrument “may not be sufficient” to support the overseas wind power financial investment presently and in the short-term future..

HYDROGEN: Sinopec, a state-owned petroleum and petrochemical enterprise group, intends to spend 30bn yuan (₤ 3.4 bn) on the advancement of hydrogen energy by 2025, Reuters reported. According to the newswire, the group “prepares to end up being Chinas biggest company to produce hydrogen for usage as a transportation fuel, targeting annual capacity of 200,000 tonnes of hydrogen refuelling by 2025”.

In other places, the decline in pollutants throughout Chinas Covid-19 lockdown early in 2015 “added to a brighter, earlier and greener 2020 spring season” in the country, according to a new study. The researchers told Carbon Brief that the stringent quarantine duration “provided an extraordinary chance for studying the action of the Earths ecosystem to a remarkable decrease in human activities”..

Other news.

WHAT: John Kerry, the United States special governmental envoy for climate, landed in East Asia today for talks in Japan and China. The United States State Department said on Monday that “Kerry will continue discussions on essential elements of the climate crisis” in the Chinese city of Tianjin. On Tuesday, Chinas Ministry of Ecology and Environment verified that Kerry would go to Tianjin from this Tuesday to Friday. It said that Xie, Chinas unique climate envoy, would hold “face-to-face talks” with Kerry. Chinas foreign ministry stated the other day that Wang Yi, the minister of foreign affairs, had actually met Kerry through video link earlier that day. Today, Kerry held virtual talks with Han Zheng, Chinas vice-premier, reported AP. He will consult with Yang Jiechi, Chinas “most senior diplomat”, at night, according to a South China Morning Post “exclusive”.

MORE ON THE STUDY: Prof Su said the lockdown period was “an extraordinary opportunity” for them to comprehend the relationship in between human activities and the community. He added: “We now have a much clearer quantitative understanding that the first phase of healing from climate change includes cleaner air.” Dr Vincent Lyne from the University of Tasmania, likewise a co-author, told Carbon Brief that the team had actually collected and processed “huge quantities” of information on human motion and satellite images for the entire of China before comparing them with those from the previous five years. The Washington Post, South China Morning Post and Sixth Tone included the paper.

WHY IT MATTERS: US-China climate engagement happens in a “extremely tough” context, Downie told Carbon Brief, including that both countries “know they need to engage”– for the sake of the environment as well as their relationship. He said that “so lots of” key climate problems “are tough to isolate” from the 2 countries geopolitical flashpoints and “these tensions put a ceiling on the outcomes from bilateral discussions”. In a wider sense, Downie noted that Kerry was preparing “a host of sees and meetings” before COP26, consisting of trips to other establishing countries, such as India and Indonesia. “Chinas climate ambitions set markers for the remainder of the developing world and its public financing has actually supported coal capability expansions throughout many other developing states over the previous years,” he discussed. “In this way, Kerrys conferences with China will help notify his agenda for the rest of the next couple of months.”.


WHERE: Tianjin, where Kerry is remaining, is a significant port city on the east coast with around 14 million individuals. It is one of Chinas four towns– major cities directly handled by the central federal government. Tianjin is close to Beijing, situated about 135km southeast of the capital. The Chinese federal government has not yet explained why it has actually chosen the city to host the brand-new round of environment talks. The two envoys last met in a state visitor hotel in the eastern residential areas of Shanghai. Their discussions led to the US-China joint statement on climate..

Threat changes of compound temperature level and rainfall extremes in China under 1.5 C and 2C global warmingAtmospheric Research.

LOCKDOWN STUDY: A new research study has actually found that a sharp drop in human emissions during Chinas Covid-19 lockdown in early 2020 led to “a considerable and fast ” cleaning of the air and increased sunlight reaching plants. It likewise contributed to the early arrival of spring and a near 20% boost in leaf area.

WHERE: Sharma has actually gone to some 30 nations, including India, Russia and Brazil, in his “world trip” ahead of COP26, the Daily Mail reported. He has actually not yet taken a trip to China– a country he has repeatedly called out over its environment action. In May, he required “more seriousness” from Beijing on fulfilling President Xis emission goals, reported Reuters. 2 months later, he told the Sun: “China, India, Russia– those big emitters require to do more.” Bloomberg wrote on Tuesday that the “next weeks are critical for environment diplomacy” while reporting on Sharmas anticipated journey to China. It stated: “Whether or not he can attain success at Glasgow comes down to the worlds 2 greatest emitters: China and the US.”.

WHAT: As Kerrys Tianjin trip draws in media attention, Alok Sharma– who was appointed as full-time president of COP26 in January– is likewise reported to be heading to China this month. In an “unique” in July, the Sun reported that Sharma “exposed he hopes to visit China” prior to COP26.

POSSIBLE TOPICS: Politico indicated that Sharma would likely call on China to cut its use of coal and stop buying domestic and overseas coal-fired power plants– messages comparable to Kerrys. Bloomberg wrote: “On his see to China, Sharma is expected to push the requirement for an end to coal”. A comment piece in the Daily Telegraph likewise indicated coal-curbing as Sharmas card. But the author, British conservative commentator Douglas Murray, wrote under the online headline: “Good luck convincing China to stop burning coal.” Wu Changhua, a policy expert specialising in Chinas climate modification development, told Carbon Brief that there could be “some exchanges of information and upgrade” from both sides, “as well as some efforts from Sharma to push China to do more than what [it] has dedicated to the Paris Agreement”. Wu stated that she didnt believe this journey would turn out “that significant at all”. She described: “Over-emphasising coal … becomes a suspicious move to sidetrack attention and divert [the] focus more towards China.”.

John Kerry, US President Bidens environment envoy, remains in China today for a new round of environment diplomacy. Four months after holding talks with his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, in Shanghai, Kerry is anticipated to urge Beijing to stop funding overseas coal projects. He is meeting top Chinese officials and Xie in Tianjin, from Tuesday to Friday, according to reports and federal government releases.

EV: One of Chinas greatest wind turbine makers, Envision Group, plans to introduce an “EV-charging” robot called Mochi, which can take a trip to a designated place to charge electric automobiles (EV), according to Nikkei Asia. The Japanese outlet composed: “The company intends to make the robotic available through a mobile phone app-based membership service that will permit drivers to leave their vehicles for Mochi to find and charge instantly.” Previous Chinese reports said that Mochi might give a complete charge “in 2 hours” to an EV with a travelling range of about 600km..

CENTRAL INSPECTION: The National Energy Administration (NEA), Chinas energy regulator, has actually “guaranteed to gain from its errors and enhance its planning and policymaking” following a top-level federal government ecological inspection, reported Reuters. In January, the Central Ecological and Environmental Inspection Team (CEEIT) condemned the NEA for its “deteriorated political ecology” and for “failing to strictly control the excess coal power capacity in essential areas of air contamination, avoidance and control”, according to Carbon Briefs extensive Q&A on the matter. The NEA released a lengthy “rectification plan” in response to the criticism on Tuesday.

Extra reading.

Using environment design simulations, the researchers found that the largest increases in risk “are focused over northern north China, eastern northwest China and south China, with the risk increasing by seven-to-eight times”. Dr Jiang Zhihong from Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology in China, who is the papers matching author, informed Carbon Brief that “compared to a single severe weather and climate occasion, compound extremes with 2 or more severe occasions taking place concurrently or in succession can magnify the impact on the environment and human society”.

He said that Chinas effort to cut its emissions is “for that reason self-evidently critical” to COP26s efforts to “keep temperature increases to 1.5 C”. Both Wu and Redmond-King said that Sharma would perhaps be meeting Xie, Chinas climate envoy, if his trip does take place.

WHO: Sharma was formerly UK secretary of state for business, energy and industrial technique prior to taking on his existing function full-time. Mentioning his visit, Downing Street said in January: “To fulfill the high ambitions for the summit in the year of COP26, Alok Sharma will exclusively focus on driving forward coordinated worldwide action to deal with environment modification.” Sharma, an Indian-born British politician, paid his first main check out to China in August 2016 as UK minister for Asia.

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Sharma heading to China in September.

Utilizing green finance to counteract the unfavorable results of Covid-19 pandemic on eco-friendly energy investment– The case of offshore wind power in China Energy Policy.

OCEAN: Chinas environmental authority has pledged to promote the ocean as a carbon sink as a “crucial” part of the nations efforts to tackle environment modification, reported Global Times, a state-run paper. Science and Technology Daily included appropriate remarks by Zhang Zhifeng, a deputy director at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. Zhang said that using the ocean as a “blue carbon sink” progressively and gradually would be “an essential task in assisting [China] realise its emission-peaking and carbon neutrality objectives”.

Key developments.

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John Kerry, US President Bidens climate envoy, is in China this week for a new round of climate diplomacy. He will fulfill with Yang Jiechi, Chinas “most senior diplomat”, in the night, according to a South China Morning Post “exclusive”.

Edmund Downie, who recently published analysis of Chinas decarbonisation promises, told Carbon Brief that a restriction on cross-border coal jobs was “a possibility” by China as an outcome of this round of talks, partially because it “formalises whats currently taking place”. CHINAS RESPONSE: China cautioned the US on Wednesday that their “stretched relations could sink climate cooperation”, reported the New York Times. Using environment model simulations, the researchers found that the biggest boosts in danger “are focused over northern north China, eastern northwest China and south China, with the threat increasing by seven-to-eight times”.