COP26: China announces deal with Washington to “strengthen climate action”

Glasgow, United Kingdom | Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua announced on Wednesday in Glasgow (United Kingdom) that China and the United States have concluded a “joint statement on promoting climate action.”

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“Both sides are aware of the gap between current efforts and the goals of the Paris Agreement, so we will jointly promote climate action,” the Chinese official told reporters at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

Xie said the agreement “shows that cooperation is the only way for China and the United States,” as tensions between the two countries appear to have recently spilled over into the issue of climate diplomacy.

In a tweet, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who is in Glasgow, welcomed the agreement as “an important step in the right direction”.

China is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world and the United States is the second.

US President Joe Biden, who came to Glasgow at the start of the conference last week, called the absence of his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at COP26 a “fatal mistake”, accusing him of “turning the corner” of the climate crisis. .

“As two major world powers, China and the United States should shoulder the responsibility of working together and with other parties to combat climate change,” the Chinese envoy said.

The Glasgow climate conference is critical, as the world, according to the United Nations, finds itself on a “catastrophic” trajectory of warming to +2.7°C compared to the pre-industrial era, exceeding the goals of the Paris Agreement aimed at a limited period. Warming “well below” 2 ° C and if possible at 1.5 ° C.

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US climate envoy John Kerry spoke shortly after his speech after welcoming this “road map” that aims to outline “how we will act to limit warming and work together to raise climate ambitions.”

In the online text, the countries pledge to work at COP26 for an “ambitious, balanced and comprehensive outcome on mitigation (lower emissions), adaptation and financial support.”

More generally, they are committed to “taking enhanced measures to raise ambitions during the 2020s”, by reaffirming their adherence to the goals of the Paris Agreement on temperature.

Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, also welcomed the announcement. “Outside the COP, this is important to the world,” he told AFP.

“If the United States and China, with all their difficulties on other issues, send the message that this issue transcends others, that it is about the survival of mankind, that helps the world tremendously. The international community accepts the fact that we must act now,” he added, Noting that there is “a lot of work to be done” to reach agreement at COP26.

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