The US and China pledged to work together to fight climate change in a surprising joint announcement at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, on Wednesday, with China’s special climate negotiator saying Beijing will come up with a plan to cut methane emissions.
In a joint statement called “Declaration for Enhanced Climate Action in the 2020s,” Washington and Beijing emphasize the importance of limiting the rise in global average temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius pre-industrial levels and below 2 degrees Celsius, the Washington Post reports.
Reuters reports that China’s special climate envoy Xie Zhenhua said China would draft a plan to reduce methane emissions – which was a top priority for the US delegation at the climate conference.
Xie said in a press release that Beijing and Washington should “actively address climate change” and that cooperation between the two superpowers would benefit “people around the world.”
The announcement came as a surprise, as Chinese President Xi Jinping did not attend in person at this year’s COP26 climate conference, which is expected to end on November 12.
China has been criticized by President Biden and others for failing to act to fight the climate crisis.
In 2025, the US and China are expected to exchange their 10-year emissions reduction targets for 2035, Reuters reports.
What to watch out for
Where is Russia? The joint US-China pledge leaves out Russia, another major polluter and one of the world’s largest exporters of fossil fuels. Prior to the joint pledge, President Biden had expressed his “disappointment” with his Chinese counterpart Xi and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for not attending the summit in person. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova refuted Biden’s comments, saying: “Unlike our US counterparts, the Russian Federation is vigorously and, I emphasize, consistently fulfilling its obligations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.” and the Paris Agreement,” Russia’s Tass news agency said. . Reuters reports that temperatures in Russia have risen 2.8 times faster than the international average.
“This is science,” US climate envoy John Kerry said in a press release. He added that “we cannot achieve our goals” unless countries work together.
38%. That’s the percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions that China and the US were jointly responsible for in 2019, according to research firm Rhodium Group. China was the largest polluter, responsible for 27% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, followed by the US’s share of 11%.
In September, the US and the European Union announced the Global Methane Pledge initiative to reduce global methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, was responsible for an increase in global average temperatures by about 0.5 degrees Celsius since the pre-industrial era, the White House said in a statement based on a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Biden expresses his ‘disappointment’ at the absence of China and Russia at the G20 summit (Forbes)
China says it has reached agreement with US to boost cooperation on climate change (Reuters)
China’s climate envoy says in joint statement US and China agreed to increase cooperation on climate change (Associated Press)