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John Kerry. Photo: Zach Gibson / Stringer

John Kerry, President Biden's special climate envoy, is expected to travel to China next week for meetings with officials aimed at boosting collaboration, the Washington Post reported Saturday.

Why it matters: China is the world's largest carbon dioxide emitter and the U.S. is second-largest.

  • Collaboration between the economic rivals amid major tensions over trade and human rights is important for global efforts to rein in emissions.
  • The reported visit also comes ahead of the virtual international climate summit Biden's convening between April 22 and 23. Chinese President Xi Jinping is invited.

Yes, but: The visit could still be called off, the Post reported.

What they're saying: A State Department spokesperson said there's "no travel to announce at this time," but added Kerry's been "in touch with Minister Xie Zhenhua since they were both appointed," referring to China's top climate diplomat.

  • "We expect conversations between the two will continue, given that China is the largest emitter in the world," the department said.

Of note: Xie recently returned for a second stint in the role. He and Kerry worked together in the run-up to the late 2015 Paris climate deal when Kerry was secretary of State during the Obama years.

What we're watching: China last year pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 and have its emissions peak before 2030, but details on how the nation will go about this remain scarce.

  • Kerry, at an International Monetary Fund event last week, said China may be able to reach a peak by 2025, but added he wants more ambitious steps.
  • "The problem is that the current curve shows China peaking and then basically plateauing, not coming down sufficiently," Kerry said, adding that China needs to cut emissions this decade to keep the Paris agreement goals viable.
  • The U.S. is slated to announce its own 2030 emissions-cutting target just ahead of this month's White House summit, and advocates want the pledge to vow steep cuts.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Climate spending is a story of the century

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A successful global effort to slash carbon emissions demands huge investments to finance the unprecedented transformation of energy systems and related infrastructure — and it's a capital shift that's already well underway.

Why it matters: Private investment is already ramping up, and President Biden wants to spend hundreds of billions of dollars. Independent experts say the spending that will be needed to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 — a goal now embraced by the U.S. and many other countries — would be on the scale of the Industrial Revolution.

Biden's budget would boost climate, clean energy spending

Emissions rise from the Kentucky Utilities Co. Ghent generating station in Ghent, Ky., on April 6, 2021. Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden's first budget request to Congress contains large increases in climate-change-related spending, on the order of $14 billion above the prior year's levels, according to a White House summary.

Why it matters: It provides details on how the White House hopes to translate its vow to act aggressively on global warming, both at home and abroad, into specific funding levels and agency-by-agency plans.

Climate change is a major threat to stability, spy agencies say

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Climate change will lead to a less secure, more crisis-prone world that will strain global institutions, according to a major national security assessment released Thursday.

Driving the news: The “Global Trends Report,” produced every four years by the National Intelligence Council, spotlights climate change among the main structural forces shaping the next two decades.

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