US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has made investing in renewable energy imperative for America’s rivalry with China days before a White House climate summit where Washington leaders hope to reaffirm their commitment. global influence on climate policy.
The top US diplomat warned America is “falling behind” in the green economy, noting on Monday that China already holds nearly a third of the world’s patents on renewable energy and is the world’s largest producer and exporter of panels. solar, wind turbines, batteries and electric vehicles.
“It’s hard to imagine the United States winning the long-term strategic competition with China if we can’t lead the renewable energy revolution,” he said.
The comments highlighted the stakes for the world’s two largest economies in responding to the climate crisis. Chinese President Xi Jinping has said the country will achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2060 as Beijing lives be seen as a leader in global climate negotiations.
The Biden administration has said it seeks to “get back into the climate fight,” with a target of net zero emissions by 2050, following four years in which the Trump administration withdrew the United States of the Paris climate agreement and canceled rules designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Blinken said that if the United States does not catch up with its investment in clean energy, “America will miss the opportunity to shape the world’s climate future in a way that reflects our interests and values, and we will lose. countless jobs for Americans. people”.
President Joe Biden, who brought the United States back to the Paris agreement on the first day of his term in office, is preparing to welcome 40 world leaders to a virtual climate summit on Thursday and Friday to discuss strengthening targets emissions ahead of the UN COP26 climate conference in November. .
John Kerry, US Climate Envoy, agreed a commitment with China this weekend in which the two countries will fight together against climate change, despite the rise in tensions between the world powers.
But the United States and China are arguing over a number of other geopolitical issues, and this week’s summit is also part of an effort to showcase Biden’s new green policies as his administration searches for ammunition for what ‘it sees long-term competition with China.
Blinken has advocated for a shift to a greener economy, stressing that the global renewable energy market is expected to reach $ 2.15 billion by 2025.
“This is more than 35 times the size of the current renewable energy market in the United States,” he said, adding that the roles of solar and wind technicians were among the sectors of the job market at the same time. fastest growing in America.
The US Treasury said on Monday it would appoint a climate adviser, John Morton, to coordinate efforts for a new climate center focused on mobilizing finance to address the threat of climate change.
“Finance and financial incentives will play a crucial role in addressing the climate crisis at home and abroad and in providing capital for opportunities to transform the economy,” said Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury .
Blinken urged other countries to take drastic action, saying that even if the United States achieves net zero emissions overnight, “we will lose the fight against climate change if we cannot deal with the more than 85% emissions from the rest. of the world”.
He also hinted that the United States was prepared to push back the policies of other countries that ran counter to climate change targets. Although he did not name any country, his remarks on charcoal and deforestation appear to be aimed at China and Brazil respectively.
“Our diplomats will challenge the practices of countries whose action – or inaction – sets the world back,” he said. “When countries continue to depend on coal for a significant amount of their energy, or invest in new coal plants or allow massive deforestation, they will hear from the United States and our partners about how badly these actions are. harmful. “
Follow @ftclimate on Instagram
Where climate change meets business, markets and politics. Check Out FT Coverage Here