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China to push on with emissions reduction even as Taiwan spat widens rift with US

China will move forward with efforts to reduce emissions, even as its suspension of bilateral talks with the United States has cast doubt on whether the world’s second-largest economy can follow through on its agenda to fight global warming, according to climate experts.

Beijing halted cooperation with the US in the fight against climate change as part of a range of measures announced by the foreign ministry in response to US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

“The worry is that this US-China fallout will again be used by governments of countries that are unwilling to step up to delay ambitious climate action,” said Bernice Lee, research director, futures, at London-based independent policy institute Chatham House.

“It is important that the international community, especially vulnerable and developing economies, continues making sure that large emitters will deliver what they promised, whether in terms of emissions reduction or climate finance,” Lee said in an emailed interview.

The suspension of US-China climate talks reflects the uneasy cooperation between the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters.

The latest disengagement comes three months before the next United Nations Climate Change Conference is to be held in Egypt.

The two superpowers’ efforts on climate change have played a major role in mobilising international support for climate action, according to Joanna Lewis, a specialist in China’s climate policies at Georgetown University in Washington, in an emailed interview.

“There have been many official and unofficial dialogues on climate issues, and meaningful cooperation was just getting started on many key issues such as reducing methane emissions,” Lewis said. “While international engagement on this topic will continue to be important, China’s own domestic work on methane will not come to a halt if cooperation is put on pause.”


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