The world’s largest and second-largest carbon polluters– China and the U.S., respectively– are no longer discussing climate change.
China announced a pause in cooperation and meetings with the U.S. on climate change, among other issues, amid escalating tensions between the two countries due to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week.
Last year, the U.S. and China announced their intention to collaborate on common climate goals, including methane emission reductions. This was a key step because of China’s absence from a more global agreement to reduce methane emissions.
China and the U.S. issued a surprise joint statement at the end of last year’s climate meeting in November, reaffirming their commitment to climate action and their intention to “engage in expanded individual and combined efforts to accelerate the transition to a global net-zero economy.”
The conflict between the U.S. and China extends far beyond climate action. Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory, has sparked a barrage of aggression from China in response, including the deployment of warships and fighter jets near Taiwan, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
China has also launched missiles into the waters surrounding the island, disrupting flights and shipping in one of the world’s busiest trade zones. Despite calls to de-escalate tensions, Beijing extended the exercises without specifying when they would end.
China views Pelosi’s visit to the island as recognition of Taiwan’s sovereignty, although Pelosi and the Biden administration have stated that the U.S. remains committed to the “one-China” policy, which recognizes Beijing but also allows for informal relations and defense ties with Taipei.
As Taipei conducted its own drills to demonstrate its readiness to defend itself, Taiwan warned on August 9 that Chinese military exercises are more than just a dress rehearsal for an invasion of the self-governing island but also reflect China’s ambitions to control large swaths of the Western Pacific, AP reported.
According to Jing Quan, a minister at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, Pelosi’s mission to support Taiwan’s democratic government has had a “severe impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, seriously infringed on China’s sovereignty and (territorial) integrity, and … undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits,” reported the AP.
China’s Foreign Ministry announced last week that talks between the U.S. and Chinese regional commanders and defense department heads, as well as discussions on military maritime safety, were canceled, AP reported. Cooperation on returning unlawful migrants, criminal investigations, transnational crime, illegal drugs, and climate change will be halted, according to the ministry.