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Montevideo, September 27th 2023 - 15:40 UTC



US, China agree to fight climate change together

Thursday, November 11th 2021 - 09:14 UTC
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Kerry said the agreement was possible because “they have no choice” Kerry said the agreement was possible because “they have no choice”

China and the United States and China Wednesday agreed to work together in the fight against climate change, an announcement which was welcomed at the UN's Climate COP26 Summit in Glasgow.

Chinese envoy Xie Zhenhua and his US counterpart John Kerry unveiled the historic agreement in a press conference.

Up until Wednesday's announcement, keeping the temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius was believed to be almost unattainable, in light of China's and Russia's stances.

British authorities presiding over the Summit have pointed out that achieving that Paris Agreement goal marked the difference between failure and success for Glasgow.

The two superpowers have pledged to “intensify climate action in the 2020s,” Xie explained as he admitted there was a gap “between current efforts and the goals set by the Paris Agreement.“

Under the new agreement, ”concrete measures“ will be made to achieve the Paris Agreement of keeping the Earth's temperature rise below 2 degrees more than in the pre-industrial era, the Chinese dignitary pointed out.

Kerry said the United States and China had”differences“ on many issues, but in the fight against climate change ”they have no choice“ other than to collaborate, because it is the only way to to have ”the job done“, and because ”science imposes it“. He also insisted that the two powers are the two main ”emitting countries“ of greenhouse gases in the world.

Both countries currently accumulate about 40% of world emissions: China 27% and the United States 11%. And their cut promises for this decade are very different. The United States since President Joseph Biden reached the White House, has pledged to cut its emissions by almost half by 2030, while China, however only maintains the commitment to reach its peak of emissions before 2030 and to reduce them from that moment.

Kerry also insisted that the goal remains to contain global warming within the ceiling 1.5 degrees higher than in the pre-industrial era. President Biden and President Xi Jinping ”want to work together“ on this, he said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrived in Glasgow Wednesday to use his political weight to persuade countries to find a decent deal as the Summit's final declaration was being drafted. “They are tough negotiations, with a lot of work to do,” he admitted. The goal is to “keep the 1.5-degree target.” Below that, it would be “a colossal failure.” And he concluded: “There is no excuse not to act.”

After China and the United States released their Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s, both sides pledged to continue working together and with all parties to strengthen the implementation of the Paris Agreement on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities as well as taking into account national conditions.

China and the US agreed to establish a working group on enhancing climate action in the 2020s to promote cooperation in this regard.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the agreement. “I welcome today's agreement between China and the USA to work together to take more ambitious #ClimateAction in this decade,” Guterres tweeted. “Tackling the climate crisis requires international collaboration and solidarity, and this is an important step in the right direction,” the Portuguese-born official said.

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