Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) John Kerry is set to travel to China later this month to restart climate negotiations with his Chinese counterparts, according to an interview he gave to the New York Times on Thursday.

Kerry’s plans to visit China and meet with Chinese officials come about a year after climate talks between the two nations stalled due to former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s high-profile trip to Taiwan. The State Department confirmed in May that Kerry had quietly resumed climate talks with China and that in-person meetings were being planned.

“We need genuine cooperation,” Kerry told the New York Times on Thursday evening. “China and the United States are the two largest economies in the world, and we are also the two largest emitters. It’s clear that we have a special responsibility to find common ground.”

The trip is expected to take place during the week of July 16 and will involve meetings with Xie Zhenhua, China’s lead climate negotiator.

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Since assuming the SPEC position, Kerry has engaged in various private talks with Chinese counterparts, including two meetings in China in 2021. However, after a regional climate summit in April 2021, Kerry emphasized that solving climate change was not solely about China.

“This is not about China. This is not a counter to China,” he stated. “This is about China, the United States, India, Russia… a bunch of countries that are emitting a pretty sizable amount.”

China is responsible for approximately 27% of global emissions, nearly triple the amount emitted by the U.S., the world’s second-largest emitter, according to the Rhodium Group. China continues to approve and construct a significant number of coal power plants.

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In 2022, China authorized an astonishing 106 gigawatts of new coal power capacity, roughly four times the amount permitted in 2021, as reported by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air and Global Energy Monitor in February. The newly generated coal power is equivalent to approximately 100 large coal-fired power plants.

“Despite not being confirmed by the U.S. Senate, John Kerry is still negotiating with the Chinese Communist Party to push a radical, Green New Deal agenda detrimental to American interests,” stated House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., in a statement to Fox News Digital on Friday.

“President Biden granted his Climate Czar the ability to unilaterally set foreign policy and bind the United States to international agreements without consent from Congress,” Comer continued. “China now recognizes that this is an opportunity to take advantage of this Administration’s weak leadership that consistently puts the priorities of Americans last.”

House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., said China sees its negotiations with Kerry as an “opportunity to take advantage of this Administration’s weak leadership.”

In February, shortly after assuming office, President Biden appointed Kerry as the U.S. SPEC, a position that did not previously exist and did not require Senate approval. This position gives Kerry a place on the president’s cabinet and National Security Council. The SPEC office is located at the State Department and has an estimated annual budget of $13.9 million, with approval for 45 personnel.

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