Your Monday Briefing: U.S. and China Restart Climate Talks

John Kerry, the U.S. climate envoy, arrived in Beijing yesterday to restart climate negotiations with China. Over three days of talks, he and Xie Zhenhua, his Chinese counterpart, will look for ways to collaborate, despite simmering tensions.

China and the U.S. are the two biggest fossil fuel polluters, combining to spew about 40 percent of greenhouse gases. The speed with which they slash emissions and help other nations transition to clean energy will determine whether the planet can avoid the most catastrophic consequences of climate change, analysts say.

Kerry wants to talk about three main issues:

Many observers are keeping expectations low for this meeting: Beijing, like most governments, doesn’t like to appear as if it has been pressured to act. While Kerry wants to prod China to set stronger targets, Beijing wants to focus on its existing goals and policies.

But both countries may agree to regular U.S.-China meetings on climate change, which experts said would be a strong outcome. They could also lay the groundwork for bigger changes at the U.N. climate summit in Dubai this November.

Tensions: The talks have been stalled since August, when Beijing froze high-level diplomatic engagement with the U.S. after Nancy Pelosi, then the speaker of the House, visited Taiwan. Plans to renew talks were derailed earlier this year after a Chinese spy balloon floated over the U.S.

Pledges: The U.S. aims to cut carbon emissions by almost 50 percent this decade and to stop adding any to the atmosphere by 2050. China has said its emissions will increase until 2030, before they begin to fall and then stop by 2060.

Good news: Both are roughly on track to meet their near-term goals, analysts said.

Janet Yellen, the U.S. treasury secretary, called for rich nations to help low-income countries with debt relief ahead of a meeting with other G20 finance ministers in Gandhinagar, India.

She cited a recent agreement among international creditors, including China, to help Zambia pay its debts. She said that the agreement should be a blueprint to use in helping other nations, such as Sri Lanka, to accelerate debt relief and restore growth while benefiting the global economy.

Context: Yellen noted that more than half of low-income countries were in or near debt distress — double the total from 2015.

Several Canadian politicians of Chinese descent who were vocally critical of Beijing saw their campaigns derailed as China expanded its reach in diaspora communities.

Canada has warned at least a half-dozen current and former elected officials that they have been targeted by Beijing. In 2021, for instance, Kenny Chiu was predicted to win re-election to Parliament. But ethnic Chinese voters turned on him after he criticized China’s human rights record. His campaign suddenly collapsed, and he lost his bid.

Context: Chiu’s case is now drawing renewed scrutiny after an extraordinary series of leaks of intelligence reports showed evidence of Beijing’s interference with Canada’s democracy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under increasing pressure to call for a public inquiry.

Texas is known for its love of football. But a rapidly growing South Asian population has brought cricket into the fold.

The community has made the state the launching pad for the sport’s first American professional league, Major League Cricket, whose inaugural season began last week outside Dallas.

Lives lived: Jane Birkin, the British-born actress who was a French fashion inspiration, died at 76.

For decades, the world’s dominant powers have benefited from large working-age populations that help drive economic growth. In the developing world, young populations meant that resources were diverted to raising children, curbing economic opportunity.

But the world’s demographic sweet spots are changing quickly. Aging populations in Europe and China will strain welfare systems. In developing countries, a young labor force will help economic growth. Soon, the U.N. projects, the best-balanced workforces will mostly be in South and Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

These graphics show how the coming shift could remake the global balance of power.

In Britain: The N.H.S., the beloved public health service, is flooded by older patients. It’s now in the deepest crisis of its 75-year history.

In Poland: The right-wing government doesn’t want migrants, but the population is aging and the country needs labor. In one tiny village, 6,000 workers from Asia are coming to build a new petrochemical plant.

Puttanesca chickpea-tomato salad is a simple bean salad you can eat all week.

In the novel “The Good Ones,” a professor investigates her friend’s disappearance.

The film “20 Days in Mariupol,” which charts Russia’s attack on the Ukrainian city, is “a relentless and truly important documentary.”


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