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Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend President Biden's virtual climate summit this week, according to China's foreign ministry.

Why it matters: It'll mark the first time the two leaders have met face to face — albeit virtually — since Biden took office. China and the U.S. are the world's two largest carbon emitters.

The big picture: During a visit to Shanghai by special climate envoy John Kerry last weekend, the U.S. and China agreed to work together to tackle global climate change, including by "raising ambition" for emissions cuts during the 2020s.

  • The cooperation reflects the reality that climate action cannot be effective without the participation of the two world's largest economies.
  • The virtual summit will take place under the backdrop of an increasingly fraught U.S.-China relationship, with tensions running high over Hong Kong, threats to Taiwan, the origins of the coronavirus and the human rights situation in Xinjiang — where the U.S. has accused China of carrying out a genocide.

Go deeper: What to expect from this week's White House climate summit

Go deeper

Apr 20, 2021 - World

China's Xi swipes at U.S.: "Countries shouldn't impose rules on others"

China's President Xi Jinping during a video summit in Beijing on Friday. Photo: Li Xueren/Xinhua via Getty Images

China's President Xi Jinping on Tuesday warned against "bossing others around or meddling in others' internal affairs" and called for "more fair and equitable" global governance.

Why it matters: Xi's thinly veiled swipes at the U.S. during an online speech at an economic forum come at a time of heightened tensions between Beijing and Washington over trade, human rights and China's strategic and economic ambitions.

Greta Thunberg to testify before House panel on Earth Day

Climate activist Greta Thunberg in Berlin in August 2020. Photo: Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty Images

Climate activist Greta Thunberg will testify before the House Oversight Subcommittee on the Environment on Thursday, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), chairman of the panel, announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The Earth Day hearing — titled “The Role of Fossil Fuel Subsidies in Preventing Action on the Climate Crisis" — will coincide with the White House's climate summit, which is expected to showcase a new 2030 U.S. emissions-cutting target.

Go deeper: What to expect from this week's White House climate summit

The U.S. credibility chasm on climate change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The biggest hurdle for President Biden in winning new emissions reduction commitments at this week's White House summit is America's on-again, off-again history of climate change efforts.

Why it matters: The global community is off course to meet the temperature targets contained in the Paris Climate Agreement. The White House wants the summit Thursday and Friday to begin to change that.