At a climate summit short on specifics, China stood out.Live now! A giant screen shows news footage of Chinese President Xi Jinping attending a video summit on climate change from Beijing, China.China must shut, retrofit or put into reserve capacity as much as 364 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired power, and its carbon intensity of power generation must be halved, from 672 gCO2/kWh today to 356 gCO2/kWh, according to London-based climate data provider President Joe Biden speaks to the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate, from the East Room of the White House, April 23, 2021, in Washington.Biden set out a goal for the U.S. to cut emissions by 50% to 52% from 2005 levels at the start of a two-day gathering that began on April 22, Earth Day, and was attended virtually by leaders of 40 countries, including big emitters India and Russia.The U.S. plan puts it on track to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to 1.5 C compared with preindustrial levels. Former President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement on June 1, 2017. Rejoining the Paris Agreement signed by 197 nations was one of Biden’s top priorities, and he signed an executive order initiating a 30-day process to reenter the pact hours after his inauguration on January 20.Greenhouse gases are those in Earth’s atmosphere that trap heat. They let sunlight pass through the atmosphere, but they prevent the heat that the sunlight delivers from leaving the atmosphere, according to NASA. The main greenhouse gases are water vapor, CO2, methane, ozone, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons.The other greenhouse gases, especially methane, are also big contributors to global warming. That’s why the U.S. and the European Union countries are targeting greenhouse gas emissions.  In 2018, European leaders set a target for climate neutrality by 2050 that covers all emissions. China’s carbon dioxide emissions, which account for about a quarter of the world’s total, are about twice those of the United States. Scott Moore, director of the Global China Program at the University of Pennsylvania and a former U.S. official in the Obama administration, said no matter how contentious the relationship between Washington and Beijing on many fronts, climate change gave China an area for working constructively with the U.S. on a global challenge.Moore, who participated in negotiations with China on the Paris Agreement, told VOA that cooperating with the U.S. on climate change gives China an opportunity to pressure Washington on other issues.”They want to link cooperation on climate change with some type of concession on human rights or political freedom. That’s obviously a nonstarter in terms of U.S. policy,” he said.When commenting on U.S.-China cooperation on climate change in January, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that the cooperation, “unlike flowers that can bloom in a greenhouse despite winter chill, is closely linked with bilateral relations as a whole.” 

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