Tuesday, December 7, 2021

China, US pledge action on climate change

The US admitted it has big disagreements with China on some key issues but said climate has to stand alone.

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China and the US say they are committed to working together and with other countries to tackle climate change.

Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua and his US counterpart John Kerry had meetings in Shanghai last week which resulted in a joint statement on Sunday.

“The US 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 said.

Both nations will continue to discuss “concrete actions in the 2020s to reduce emissions aimed at keeping the Paris Agreement-aligned temperature limit within reach”.

Both nations also agreed to help developing countries finance a switch to low-carbon energy.

Li Shuo, senior climate adviser for environmental group Greenpeace, described the statement as “positive”.

“It sends a very unequivocal message that on this particular issue (China and the US) will cooperate. Before the meetings in Shanghai this was not a message that we could assume,” Li told Reuters news agency.

One outcome from the US-China meeting is the acknowledgement that finance flows should be channelled to low-carbon projects, not high carbon. Both sides have also promised plans for reducing their own emissions further.

Kerry’s trip to China is the first high-level visit by a member of the Biden administration since the new US president took office.

Ahead of his trip to Shanghai, Kerry told CNN that China’s cooperation was “absolutely critical” to battle the climate crisis.

“Yes, we have big disagreements with China on some key issues, absolutely. But climate has to stand alone,” he said.

The US was absent from climate negotiations during president Donald Trump’s term of office.

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