US-China Climate Pact: what does it mean for Beijing? – Community News
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US-China Climate Pact: what does it mean for Beijing?

BEIJING: After trading barbs at the UN COP26 summit in Glasgow, the United States and China announced a surprising pact to work together on climate change.

What do the broad pledges mean for China, which is responsible for more than a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions?


China has pledged to peak coal consumption by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2060.

It has also said it will reduce emissions intensity — or emissions per unit of economic output — by more than 65 percent.

But Beijing has yet to specify exactly how it plans to achieve these goals, and environmentalists have warned that without specifying the peak size or setting an absolute ceiling, China could essentially continue to increase emissions through 2030.

President Xi Jinping has said China will stop financing coal projects abroad, but domestically it will continue to build new coal plants — the biggest source of carbon pollution.

The United States has announced that it will be carbon neutral by 2050.


Washington and Beijing have pledged to establish a working group to tackle climate change in the short term and promised to meet regularly to address the crisis.

The world’s two biggest polluters said they “recognize the gravity and urgency of the climate crisis,” especially during this “critical decade,” according to a document outlining the blanket agreement.

The first meeting is in the first half of next year.

“This demonstrates once again that China and the US can work together on matters of global importance,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Thursday.

While the plan was light on concrete goals, it was heavy on political symbolism.

Li Shuo, Greenpeace China’s global policy adviser, told AFP that the statement clearly indicates “a political desire to set the issue of climate change aside a bit” from other sources of tension.

“It prevents the worst – a disconnect between the US and China on climate action.”