An unexpected US-China climate agreement has come out of Cop26.
An agreement between the U.S. and China has emerged at the end of the UN Climate Change Conference Cop26 for the two countries to work together on cutting emissions. In a joint declaration, the rival countries announced close cooperation on cutting emissions.
The U.S. and China are the world’s two biggest emitters. The two countries produce more than 40 percent of global carbon emissions.
The agreement called for concrete and pragmatic regulations in decarbonization, the reduction of methane emissions, and a fight again deforestation. A working group between the two countries will meet regularly in order to address the climate crisis, with a focus on concrete actions within this decade.
Scientists say that it’s imperative to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 in order to avoid the absolute worst of climate change impacts. This will be comparative to pre-industrial temperatures. Global temperature rises since the industrial revolution have been dramatic, and continuing on that path will be perilous, experts warn.
Leaders and climate experts have welcomed the agreement, albeit with caution. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said it was an important step in the right direction.
The pledge lacks specific detail, but analysts say that it is a direct acknowledgement by China that the climate crisis needs urgent addressing, and confirms it knows it needs to play a larger role in combatting global warming.
Experts warn that the policies need to be enacted in order to support the promises, and cannot merely be words.
China’s climate envoy said that the declaration was agreed upon following more than 30 meetings with the United States over the past 10 months.
A virtual meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected soon, and as early as next week.
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