China, US agree on need for stronger climate commitments

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SHANGHAI / WASHINGTON – China and the United States agree stronger commitments to tackle climate change should be introduced ahead of a new round of international negotiations at the end of the year, the two countries said in a statement on Sunday. spouse.

The statement came after a meeting between Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua and his US counterpart John Kerry in Shanghai on Thursday and Friday, China’s Environment Ministry said.

“The United States and China are committed to cooperation with each other and with other countries to address the climate crisis,” their joint statement said. The two countries will continue to discuss “concrete actions in the 2020s to reduce emissions aimed at keeping within reach the temperature limit aligned with the Paris Agreement”.

Kerry arrived in Shanghai on Wednesday evening under strict COVID-19 protocols and was transferred to a secluded hotel not open to the public. He then traveled to Seoul.

His stopover in Shanghai was the first high-level visit to China by an official in the Biden administration since the new president took office, and followed a controversial exchange between officials from the two countries in March in Alaska.

The talks also mark a resumption of the climate dialogue between the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world. Bilateral talks were halted during the administration of Donald Trump, who withdrew from the 2015 Paris agreement after claiming he had unfairly punished US companies.

The United States is expected to soon commit to reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to regain the confidence of foreign allies. Biden brought the United States back into the Paris climate agreement.

Li Shuo, senior climate adviser at environmental group Greenpeace, said China may soon respond to a new US pledge through one of its own, building on “momentum” from the Shanghai talks.

“The statement in my opinion is as positive as the policy allows: it sends a very clear message that on this particular issue (China and the United States) will cooperate. Before the Shanghai meetings, this was not a message we could assume, ”Li said.

Biden will host a virtual summit this week for dozens of world leaders to discuss climate change, which will be broadcast live to the public. Global climate talks are scheduled for November 1-12 in Glasgow.

The statement said the two countries also agreed to discuss specific actions to reduce emissions, including energy storage, carbon capture and hydrogen. They said they would take steps to maximize funding for developing countries to switch to low-carbon energy sources.

The Paris agreement encourages countries to come up with more ambitious climate commitments if they are in a position to do so. China has already pledged stepped-up action as it tries to meet its goal of becoming “carbon neutral” by 2060. – Reuters


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