COP26: A cautious welcome to an unexpected climate accord between the United States and China
Activists and politicians have expressed reservations about an unexpected US-China agreement promising to enhance climate cooperation over the next decade.
The EU and the UN praised the decision as a positive step forward, but Greenpeace said both countries needed to be more committed.
The United States and China are the two largest CO2 emitters on the planet. They stated that they would work together to meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature objective.
Limiting global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to scientists, will help humanity avoid the worst climate consequences. When compared to pre-industrial temperatures, this is a significant difference.
The two global rivals made the statement on Wednesday during the ongoing COP26 climate meeting in Glasgow. President Joe Biden of the United States and Chinese President Xi Jinping are slated to meet virtually next week.
Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, praised the declaration but cautioned that both governments needed to demonstrate a stronger commitment to achieving climate targets.
The joint statement from the United States and China called for stronger efforts to bridge the significant gap between now and the 1.5°C target.
Steps on a variety of topics, including methane emissions, the transition to sustainable energy, and decarbonization, were agreed upon.
Xie Zhenhua, China’s senior climate negotiator, said “there is more agreement between China and the United States than difference on climate change.”
China has refused to join an agreement to limit methane, a hazardous greenhouse gas, announced earlier this week, instead promising to build a national plan to address the problem.
Mr. Xie was followed by John Kerry, the United States’ climate envoy, who stated that while the United States and China had many issues, climate cooperation was critical. “Right now, every step matters, and we have a long road ahead of us,” he remarked.
China is the world’s top carbon dioxide emitter, followed by the United States. Mr. Xi declared in September that China would aim for carbon neutrality by 2060, with the goal of reaching peak emissions by 2030. By 2050, the United States wants to be net-zero.