The United States and China agree on the need for stronger climate commitments ahead of the new round of international negotiations in Glasgow.
China and the United States, the world’s two biggest carbon polluters, have agreed to cooperate with other countries to tackle climate change.
Sunday’s joint statement followed two days of talks between Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua and his US counterpart, John Kerry, in Shanghai.
“The United States and China are committed to cooperate with each other and with other countries to deal with the climate crisis, which must be treated with the seriousness and urgency it demands,” their statement said.
The two countries will also continue to discuss “concrete actions in the 2020s to reduce emissions aimed at keeping the temperature limit aligned with the Paris Agreement within reach,” he said.
In the Paris agreement, countries agreed in 2015 to keep rising global temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).
China and the United States are the world’s biggest carbon polluters, pumping out nearly half of the fossil fuel fumes that heat the planet’s atmosphere. Their cooperation is critical to the success of global efforts to curb climate change, but China’s frayed human rights, trade and land claims ties to Taiwan and the South China Sea threaten to undermine those efforts. .
Kerry’s trip to Shanghai marked a high-profile trip to China by a U.S. official since President Joe Biden took office in January.
Biden, who has said tackling global warming is one of his highest priorities, called on the United States to join the Paris climate deal in the early hours of his presidency, overturning the withdrawal ordered by his predecessor, Donald Trump.
The new US president also invited 40 world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, to a virtual summit to discuss the issue on April 22 and 23.
The United States and other countries are expected to announce more ambitious national carbon emission reduction targets before or during the meeting, as well as the pledge of financial assistance for less wealthy countries’ climate efforts.
While Kerry was still in Shanghai, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng on Friday signaled that China is unlikely to make any new commitments at next week’s summit.
“For a large country of 1.4 billion people, these goals are not easy to achieve,” Le said in an interview with the Associated Press in Beijing. “Some countries are asking China to meet the targets earlier. I’m afraid that’s not very realistic. “
On whether Xi would join the summit, Le said, “The Chinese side is actively studying the matter.”
In a video meeting with German and French leaders on Friday, Xi said climate change “shouldn’t become a geopolitical chip, a target to attack other countries, or an excuse for trade barriers,” well that he called for closer cooperation on the matter, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.
Xi vowed last year that China would achieve “carbon neutrality by 2060” and ensure its peak greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
The main emitters of greenhouse gases are also gearing up for the next United Nations climate summit to be held in Glasgow, UK, in November. The summit aims to revive global efforts to keep the rise in global temperatures below 1.5 ° C, as agreed in the Paris agreement.
The US-China statement said the two countries also agreed to discuss specific actions to reduce emissions, including energy storage, carbon capture and hydrogen. They said they would take steps to maximize funding for developing countries to switch to low-carbon energy sources.
He added that the two countries “are firmly committed to working together and with other Parties to strengthen the implementation of the Paris Agreement”.