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John Kerry, US ambassador to the climate issue said “cooperation is what’s needed”

In a surprising announcement made at the COP26 climate summit, Glasgow, China and USA announced that they would increase climate cooperation over the next ten years.

They issued a rare, joint statement promising to take action.

According to the agreement, both parties will “recall the firm commitment they made to working together to attain the 1.5C temperature goal as set out by the Paris Agreement.”

These people called for increased efforts to address the remaining “significant gaps” in order to reach their target.

According to scientists, limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5C would help humans avoid severe climate consequences. This compares to the pre-industrial temperature.

In Paris, 2015, the leaders of world agreed to reduce emissions and try to prevent global warming exceeding 1.5C-2C.

Xie Zhenhua from China, the top climate negotiator told reporters there was more agreement than divergence on climate change.

A number of issues, such as methane emissions and the transition to renewable energy were discussed.

China, however, refused to sign an earlier agreement to reduce methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas. Nearly 100 other countries also signed the agreement. China instead promised to create a national plan to deal with methane.

John Kerry was the US climate envoy who followed Mr Xie. He said that while there were many differences between the US and China, “co-operation on climate is the best way to do this job.”

He said, “Every step is important right now and there’s a long road ahead.”

One of the key clues to understanding the meaning of this statement lies in its last section – the declaration of the joint committee on climate action for the 2020s.

The next nine-years of carbon emission reductions are crucial if the world is to maintain the 1.5C temperature limit.

Although China is reluctant to reduce its coal-emissions in the near term, this declaration shows that China recognizes the urgent need for action.

The joint actions on methane and forests, as well as technology transfer are symbolic and potentially important in terms of emissions.

This agreement also recognizes that both parties acknowledge the large gap in efforts by countries to limit their emissions. Science says it is essential for a safer planet.

A strong agreement in Glasgow is necessary to close this gap.

This statement’s timing and optics, regardless of its contents, give it a lift.

Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace International’s Executive Director, welcomed the agreement between China and America. However she warned that each country must show more commitment towards achieving climate goals.

She stated that the “finally their statement fails to meet the call of climate vulnerable countries calling for that nations return every year to table with greater ambition until 1.5C is closed”.

Frans Timmermans (EU climate policy chief) said that the collaboration between China and the US was “really encouraging”. This shows the US, China and other countries that they understand how important this issue is. It is a good thing for us to reach an agreement at COP,” he said.

Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General, said that the announcement was an “important step in the right direction”.

COP26 will be the largest conference on climate change since 2015’s historic talks in Paris. Approximately 200 countries will be asked to submit plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming by 2030.

Other developments from the COP26 Climate Summit today:

  • An initial draft of a final COP26 Agreement was published. It urged countries to improve their targets for carbon reduction by the end 2022. It also calls for more assistance to vulnerable countries, but many criticize the text for being too ambitious.
  • Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister, called on other nation leaders to increase their leverage and reach a final settlement. At a news conference, Johnson stressed that the global goal to keep temperatures rising below 1.5C wasn’t dead.
  • Alok Sharma (COP26 President) echoed the sentiment, saying, “We all understand what’s at stake in these negotiation and that our task is urgent.” He suggested that “near-final text” agreements could be made overnight so groups can meet again tomorrow before the final conference day on Friday.
  • Today’s COP26 focus was on travel. Numerous countries have pledged to end petrol and diesel-powered automobiles, but the US has not joined. Ford, Mercedes and other major car manufacturers have made similar pledges.

Joe Biden from the United States criticized Xi Jinping, China’s president, for missing attending the summit.

“The fact China is trying to assert, understoodably, a role in the global world as a leader – it’s not showing up, comeon,” Biden stated, adding that Xi Jinping had made a mistake.

China, the US and India are the two largest carbon dioxide emitters in the world. China announced in September that it will achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. It also plans to reduce its emissions significantly before 2030. The US aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

  • The most urgent problem facing the planet is climate change. If we want to stop global warming, governments must make more aggressive cuts in greenhouse gases.
  • Glasgow summit could be the site of change. Watch out for promises by world’s largest polluters like China and the US, as well as whether or not poorer countries receive the help they require.
  • Everything in our lives is going to change. These decisions could have an impact on our careers, our heating and food choices, our travel habits, as well as how our homes are heated.

Find out more information about the COP26 summit.

A simple guide for climate change

How will you see climate change?

Is the UK on track to meet its climate goals?

What is the relationship between climate change and extreme weather?


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