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The backstory: Climate change is a big worry for people all around the world. It's when the Earth's temperature goes up because of too much pollution from carbon emissions from things like cars and factories. This is causing problems like hotter global temperatures, more extreme storms and weather and rising sea levels, and it’s even destroying ecosystems.
To fix this, many countries are working to reduce pollution and find cleaner ways to power our homes and vehicles. People are also trying to use resources more wisely, like recycling and conserving water. The goal is to protect the planet for future generations. In 1995, the first Conference of Parties (COP) meeting was held in Germany. It’s now a yearly UN meeting where governments talk about how to limit and prepare for future climate change. The 28th meeting, COP28, is coming up in November in Dubai.
Another global effort on climate change is the Paris Agreement, an international treaty on climate change that was adopted in 2015. One of the major goals set with this agreement is to keep the increase in the global average temperature below 2 C above pre-industrial levels, ideally to limit the increase to 1.5 C. Unfortunately, a lot of recent studies have come out to say that many countries around the world aren’t really doing enough to meet this goal.
The development: The US and China, the two biggest greenhouse gas emitters, have said that they’ll have talks in California to discuss climate issues ahead of the COP28 climate summit in Dubai this year. US climate envoy John Kerry will meet with his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, at the Sunnylands desert resort, where Chinese President Xi Jinping first met with US officials in 2013. They’ll focus on making stronger efforts to combat climate change to make sure the COP28 summit is a success.
One important issue at COP28 will be creating a fund to help the poorest nations deal with the effects of climate change rather than just helping them adapt. The US supports this fund but wants China to contribute to it. But, China argues that the US has a historical responsibility for emissions and thinks emerging countries shouldn’t face hurdles that the US didn’t have to deal with in the past. The US and China, the world’s two largest economies, are together responsible for almost half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, so working together is a really big step toward making effective changes.
The two sides will discuss “enhanced implementation and ambition and efforts to promote a successful COP28,” the US State Department said in a statement on Thursday about the meeting.
“We are trying to work with China to figure out the path ahead. China is working hard to try to develop some of those new technologies as well as deploy those renewables that will become the clean energy in the future. We look forward to working with China to accelerate that,” said US climate envoy John Kerry earlier this year. “Further engagements should help unlock more ambition in reducing coal consumption, cutting methane emissions, and beating a path towards a stronger outcome at COP28.”
"I wouldn't look for breakthroughs in these meetings but my hope is that they restore climate diplomacy," said David Sandalow, director of the US-China program at the Center on Global Energy Policy, about climate talks between the US and China earlier this year.