It is “crucial” that Washington and Beijing work together to finance climate-friendly investments, Janet Yellen said during a visit to China. “As the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases and the largest investors in renewable energy, we have a shared responsibility and the ability to lead the way,” the US minister told Chinese government officials and climate experts in Beijing. Otherwise, both great powers are not exactly known for being pioneers in global climate protection.
Yellen’s mission: reopen channels of communication
Ongoing cooperation between the two countries in financing climate projects is of crucial importance. Yellen added that Beijing’s support for existing multilateral climate institutions like the Green Climate Fund and the Climate Investment Fund could increase their impact. With regard to the climate goals, she also emphasized that the previous cooperation between the two countries in the field of climate change had made global breakthroughs such as the Paris Agreement of 2015 possible for the first time and both governments could support emerging and developing countries in achieving their climate goals.
Last year, China briefly suspended talks with the United States on climate policy after Nancy Pelosi, then Speaker of the US House of Representatives, visited Taiwan. Recently, however, there have been indications that talks could be resumed soon. According to a US government official, the White House climate commissioner John Kerry will soon be traveling to China to talk about climate cooperation between the two countries.
A visit in times of rising tensions
Beijing had already struck a comparatively optimistic note ahead of US Treasury Secretary Yellen’s four-day visit. The Ministry of Finance of the People’s Republic said on Friday that it hopes for a “strengthening of communication and exchange between the two countries”.
The US Treasury Secretary’s visit amid US-China tensions is a balancing act. Relations between the world’s largest economies had recently deteriorated noticeably again. After the USA, among other things, restricted the export of high-performance chips and machines for their production, the government in China initially banned certain companies and organizations from using chips from the US manufacturer Micron. Finally, this week was followed by the announcement of export controls for certain raw materials for chip production.
Right at the beginning of her visit, Yellen campaigned for better relations between the two great powers: “We strive for healthy economic competition that benefits American workers and companies, and we want to work together on global challenges,” Yellen tweeted shortly after arriving in Beijing.
qu/ehl (afp, rtr)