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Buenos Aires Times – China, United States sign joint declaration on climate crisis| China, United States issue joint declaration on climate crisis
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Buenos Aires Times – China, United States sign joint declaration on climate crisis| China, United States issue joint declaration on climate crisis

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China and the United States announced Wednesday a rare joint effort to deliver climate action. This was said by Beijing’s longtime climate envoy, who spoke at the COP26 summit.

“Both parties recognize that there is a gap among the current effort, and the Paris Agreement goals, so we will jointly strengthen Climate Action,” Xie Zihua announced to reporters in a surprise statement.

The two largest carbon emitters in the world are China and the US. Together, they account for almost 40 percent of all carbon pollution. 

Xie stated that the plan would contain “concrete actions” for increased action in the following decade and that both the US (and China) were ready to work together on the finalization and implementation of the Paris Agreement rulesbook at the UN climate summit. He said that the countries reached a consensus at COP26 on many issues related to climate change and were in agreement about the need to address methane and illegal forestation. 

To increase action in 2020s, the nations will create a working group that will meet in the first quarter of next year.

The announcement was surprising in Glasgow, where negotiators were engaged in fraught discussions about how to accelerate measures to reduce the rise in global temperatures.

Shortly after the announcement, a declaration was posted online that stated that both countries “recognize the seriousness of the climate crisis.” 

“They are committed towards tackling it through the respective accelerated actions within the critical decade of 2020s,” the document stated.

It said the US and China considered work to slash their emissions of methane – a potent greenhouse gas – this decade “a necessity.” 

The 2015 Paris agreement commits countries to working towards limiting global temperatures rises to between 1.5C- 2C through drastic emissions cuts. 

Xie said that China had conducted 30 virtual meetings with the US over the past 10 month to create the initiative.

He said, “As the major powers in the global world, China is and the United States must assume the responsibility to work with other parties to address the climate change.”

Last week, Joe Biden, the US President, stated that Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader in the climate crisis, had “walked away” because he skipped the COP26 summit.

China retaliated at the time, but relations appear to have thawed in advance of long-awaited bilateral negotiations next week.

Xie said that the release of the joint declaration showed that cooperation was the only option for China and the US.

Glasgow delegates are discussing how to implement the Paris Agreement temperature targets, as well as how to help vulnerable nations fight climate change. 

According to the United Nations, all countries have their emissions cut plans in place to raise Earth’s temperature 2.7C by 2100.

UN Secretary General António Guterres tweeted that the US-China accord was “an important step in the right direction.” 

Guterres expressed his appreciation for Washington’s and Beijing’s efforts to collaborate to improve climate action in a tweet shortly after the announcement of the agreement was made. 

He stated that “To address the climate crisis, international collaboration and solidarity are essential. This is an important step towards the right direction.” 

“The big significance of this is geopolitical,” said Nick Mabey, co-founder of think tank E3G. “This high-profile commitment puts pressure on both countries to move their positions to make COP26 a success.”



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