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Thursday, December 2, 2021

The U.S. and China pledge to cooperate on “surviving” the climate crisis

The United States and China have rarely issued a joint statement on cooperation on climate change. The Chinese envoy who attended the UN COP26 summit on Wednesday called this an “existential crisis”, but it did not change the country’s goals.

China’s Xie Zhenhua said that climate change is becoming more and more urgent and severe. By cooperating with the world’s largest economy-and the largest polluter-it will “bring more benefits to our two peoples.”

The United States and China stated that they will continue to discuss specific and pragmatic actions to reduce emissions in the 2020s after COP26.

“Our two teams reached an agreement on a joint statement this afternoon,” he said at a press conference before a separate event held by his American counterpart John Kerry.

Kerry stated that the two countries “cooperated sincerely and found common ground” and shared a common interest in the success of COP26.

US President Joe Biden only criticized Chinese and Russian leaders for not participating in the UN climate negotiations in Glasgow last week.

Kerry said that the United States and China have differences, but cooperation is “the only way to get the job done.” He pointed out that climate change is not random, but rooted in science.

Kerry said the two countries are still negotiating a virtual summit between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“We need to expand our ambitions and take responsibility,” Xie said earlier, emphasizing that cooperation in addressing climate change is the only option.

The two countries stated that they intend to develop their own long-term strategies aimed at achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions and carbon neutrality.

Kerry said that he believes that China’s emissions are “probably peaked,” and he hopes that China can accelerate and gradually reduce emissions before achieving its goals.

China has committed to peak emissions and then decline by 2030, with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2060.

Kerry said that the agreement includes “a gradual reduction of the unabated coal as soon as possible within this decade.”

Xie said that a “consensus” has been reached on a series of key issues surrounding the Paris climate agreement to limit the temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius, preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius.

This includes national goals, the so-called Paris framework, and the climate financing provided by rich countries to developing countries. Both parties will “work together and cooperate with other parties to ensure the success of COP26.”

They also intend to “maximize international investment and financing to support the transition from carbon-intensive fossil fuel energy sources to green, low-carbon and renewable energy sources in developing countries.”

This includes establishing a global carbon market.

However, China intends to formulate its own national plan to deal with the powerful warming gas-methane.

The United States and the European Union pledged last week to reduce methane emissions by 30% from 2020 levels by 2030, and China refused to join the agreement.

China and the United States will also gradually reduce the production and consumption of HFCs.

On the issue of deforestation, the two sides only promised to “strengthen the target” in this regard.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed the agreement, stating that “response to the climate crisis requires international cooperation and solidarity. This is an important step in the right direction.”

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