U.S.-China Climate Negotiations Back On

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Consider this — the two biggest economies, the U.S. and China (and biggest carbon dioxide emitters) may just cooperate to help save the planet.

And before negotiations restarted Monday, per the result of an hours-long meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping ahead of the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia — the global superpowers were largely on non-speaking terms regarding climate change, and hadn’t been cooperating on much at allover trade-related issues and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s August visit to Taiwan, which Beijing saw as an escalation of the Taiwan Straits issue. China has been showing an aggressive position toward Taiwan, which it considers to be a breakaway province that should come under Beijing’s control.

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By now, much of the world is aware of the need to reach net-zero emissions to mitigate the worst of global warming, yet the gap between meaningful action keeps widening (especially if world leaders don’t cooperate).

In his opening remarks in Bali before the bilateral meeting at the Chinese delegation’s hotel, President Biden said: “The world expects, I believe, China and the United States to play key roles in addressing global challenges, from climate changes to food insecurity, and to — for us to be able to work together…the United States stands ready to do just that — work with you — if that’s what you desire.”

Per the White House’s formal statement issued afterward, “President Biden underscored that the United States and China must work together to address transnational challenges — such as climate change, global macroeconomic stability including debt relief, health security, and global food security — because that is what the international community expects.” The immediate next steps include the Secretary of State Antony Blinken visiting China to maintain discussions.

Other focus areas in Biden’s speech included maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait in an effort to catalyze global prosperity.

Back in August, President Biden passed the Inflation Reduction Act, marking a major environmental stride to see the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions cut by 40 percent by 2030. At the time, Sarah Edwards, head of North America at Eunomia Research and Consulting, told WWD that the effort was the “most significant piece of environmental legislation in the last three decades.”

Specific to fashion, sustainability spokespeople are also lending star status to pressing issues.

Also in Bali Monday, the U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador Anne Hathaway (and brand ambassador to Bulgari and Valentino, to name a few) called on leaders of the global business community to act. In a video message at Business 20, or B20, the official G20 business forum held Monday in Bali, Hathaway said: “As fuel and food prices rise globally, amid the climate emergency and sustained military conflicts, women’s incomes — as well as their contributions to businesses’ success and the recovery of markets — matter even more than ever. This year, in 169 countries and areas — that’s most of the world — women’s labor force participation is expected to stay below pre-pandemic levels.”

The garment industry, of course, employs mostly women of color in its ranks, showing the industry’s massive stake in productive climate and gender equity negotiations. (In the U.S., legislation like the “Fabric Act” are muscling in for change).

Meanwhile, in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt Cop27 is taking place and every industry, including fashion, has showed up in some way or another to renew commitments to responsible sourcing (in the case of sourcing commitments like CanopyStyle, a global viscose pledge) and more.

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