US to hold weekend climate talks with China in California ahead of COP28

Palm Springs, California - The United States and China, the world's two largest greenhouse gas emitters, will hold weekend talks in California to seek progress ahead of the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, the State Department announced Thursday.

President Joe Biden (r.) and China's President Xi Jinping shake hands as they meet on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali on November 14, 2022.
President Joe Biden (r.) and China's President Xi Jinping shake hands as they meet on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali on November 14, 2022.  © SAUL LOEB / AFP

The talks, on the eve of an expected US visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, will take place at the Sunnylands desert resort – memorable as the site of Xi's first US summit in 2013 after he assumed power.

Climate envoy John Kerry will welcome his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua from Saturday through Tuesday at the estate near Palm Springs, the State Department said.

The two sides will discuss "enhanced implementation and ambition and efforts to promote a successful COP28," the State Department said in a statement.

China slams US' first trilateral summit with Japan and Philippines: "Wanton smears and attacks"
China China slams US' first trilateral summit with Japan and Philippines: "Wanton smears and attacks"

World leaders and climate negotiators will gather in Dubai from November 30 for the latest UN-led summit as record-shattering temperatures, rising wildfires, and worsening disasters raise mounting concern about the fate of the planet.

Why the US and China are so important to the Dubai climate summit

The United States and China, the world's two largest economies, are together responsible for nearly half of the greenhouse gas emissions but are frequent adversaries on the international stage.

One key issue at the Dubai summit will be hammering out details of a so-called loss and damage fund, which would compensate the poorest nations as they cope with the consequences of climate change – not simply assisting them in adapting.

President Joe Biden's administration has not opposed the fund but insists that China put money in it alongside wealthy countries, knowing that securing money will already be difficult in a divided Congress, where the rival Republican Party is full of climate skeptics.

China, while now by far the largest carbon emitter, argues that the United States bears more responsibility historically and that emerging countries should not face constraints that never held back the West.

Cover photo: SAUL LOEB / AFP

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