EU and US push China to help them write big new climate check

By Karl Mathiesen | 04/10/2024 06:15 AM EDT

Beijing isn’t required to contribute because of a 1992 U.N. treaty, but pressure is growing on the country given its wealth and pollution.

LONDON — Western diplomats are preparing for a showdown with China over its reluctance to commit to funding for poorer countries struggling to cope with climate change.

Governments are trying to source hundreds of billions of dollars of public money annually for the massive cash pot, meant to fund clean energy projects, build seawalls, plant heat-resistant crops and other efforts to stave off the worst effects of climate change.

Wealthy countries are required to pay in, but China, under the terms of the 1992 U.N. climate treaty, is not. And Beijing isn’t budging, especially as some rich countries, most notably the U.S., have failed to deliver on their own funding pledges.


But Chinese taxpayers have grown wealthier in the three decades since that initial climate treaty. Meanwhile, China has become by far the largest single source of pollution and the third-largest climate change contributor of all time behind the U.S. and EU.