Kerry Marches to China as GOP Probes

by Ethan Roberts
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Kerry emphasizes the need for cooperation between the two largest economies and emitters

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) John Kerry has disclosed his plans to travel to China later this month for a crucial round of climate negotiations with his Chinese counterparts. This announcement comes approximately a year after climate talks between the two nations came to a halt following a high-profile trip to Taiwan by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Kerry’s decision to reignite climate discussions with China was confirmed by the State Department in May, with future in-person meetings being planned by his office.

Kerry highlighted the importance of genuine cooperation between China and the United States, the two largest economies and emitters in the world. Recognizing their shared responsibility, he expressed the need to find common ground on climate issues. The trip is scheduled to take place during the week of July 16 and will include meetings with Xie Zhenhua, China’s lead climate negotiator.


China’s significant emissions and increasing coal power capacity pose a threat to climate action

China, accounting for approximately 27% of global emissions, holds a pivotal role in addressing the climate crisis. This figure surpasses the emissions of the United States, the world’s second-largest emitter, almost threefold. Despite the scale of its carbon footprint, China continues to approve and build a substantial number of coal power plants, hindering progress on global climate goals.

In 2022 alone, China authorized an astounding 106 gigawatts of new coal power capacity, quadrupling the amount permitted in the previous year. An analysis conducted by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air and Global Energy Monitor revealed that this new coal power generation is equivalent to the output of approximately 100 large coal-fired power plants. The rapid growth of coal power capacity in China poses a significant challenge to global efforts aimed at combating climate change.


Allegations of pushing a radical climate agenda and undermining American interests

House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer has lodged a science ethics complaint against John Kerry, accusing him of pursuing a radical Green New Deal agenda that is detrimental to American interests. Comer, a Republican from Kentucky, expressed concerns about the lack of Senate confirmation for Kerry’s role as U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate and criticized the Biden administration’s decision to grant Kerry the ability to unilaterally set foreign policy and enter international agreements without congressional consent.

Comer voiced his apprehension over China’s perception of negotiating with Kerry as an opportunity to exploit the current administration’s perceived weak leadership. He pledged to maintain close scrutiny of Kerry’s climate negotiations with China, a topic that has been the subject of intense congressional scrutiny since February 2021.


Republicans call for openness regarding Kerry’s role, budget, and closed-door deals with China

Questions have been raised regarding the transparency of John Kerry’s office and its internal operations. While leading the Biden administration’s global climate strategy, Kerry’s team has remained tight-lipped about the specifics of their work and staff members. This lack of transparency has drawn criticism from Republicans, including Chairman Comer, who demand clarity on Kerry’s cabinet-level role, the utilization of taxpayers’ money, and the nature of his closed-door negotiations with China.

The Oversight and Accountability Committee, under Comer’s leadership, initiated an investigation into Kerry’s office in February 2022. Consequently, Comer has expressed the need for the American people to understand Kerry’s role and the implications of his agreements with China.


Kerry’s international efforts to promote the transition to green energy

Since assuming the role of Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry has been actively engaged in various diplomatic initiatives aimed at advancing the global transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. He has participated in high-profile climate summits and diplomatic engagements worldwide to advocate for coordinated action on climate change.

Despite the significance of Kerry’s position in shaping the Biden administration’s climate agenda, criticism remains regarding the lack of transparency from his office and the necessity for greater openness.

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