Energy & Environment

US, China say they are 'committed' to cooperating on climate change

The United States and China released a joint statement Saturday evening confirming the two countries' commitment to cooperating on climate change and 'strengthening' the implementation of the Paris Climate Accords. 

U.S. Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry and China Special Envoy for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua met in Shanghai on Thursday and Friday, according to the statement released by the State Department. 

After discussions in China, the countries agreed to cooperate on multi-lateral processes, including the Paris Climate Agreement. 

"The United States and China are committed to cooperating with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis, which must be addressed with the seriousness and urgency that it demands," the statement read. 

The two countries are the world's two biggest carbon polluters, according to The Associated Press.

Both countries agreed to "pursuing such efforts" to "hold the global average temperature increase to well below 2 degrees C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees C," in accordance with the agreement. 

"Both countries recall their historic contribution to the development, adoption, signature, and entry into force of the Paris Agreement through their leadership and collaboration," the statement read. 

The statement also noted that both the U.S. and China would take actions in the short term to help fight climate change including "appropriate actions to maximize international investment and finance in support of the transition from carbon-intensive fossil fuel based energy to green, low-carbon and renewable energy in developing countries."

They each also committed to the phasing down of hydrofluorocarbon production. 

The notice from the countries comes after Kerry stated earlier this month that he was "not confident, but hopeful" that China would be willing to partner with other countries on meeting carbon emissions targets. 

"...China is a very important player in this," Kerry said in an interview with India Today at the time. "We hope that China will come to the table and lead. President Xi [Jinping] has talked about leadership, about China's role in this."

Kerry stated that President Biden acknowledged China and the U.S. will have differences, but that "doesn't mean we should ignore the crisis before all of us which requires all of us to respond, and that's the climate crisis."

In the future, the two countries agreed to continue discussions surrounding concrete actions that the U.S. and China can make in the 2020s to reduce emissions. 

These actions include: Policies, measures, and technologies to decarbonize industry and power; Increased deployment of renewable energy; Green and climate resilient agriculture and energy efficient buildings among other things. 

Kerry's meeting with Xie also comes before the White House's climate summit next week, which includes 40 world leaders who will meat virtually to discuss climate change. 

The White House's summit is slated before the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.  

Updated 10:35 p.m.

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