Politicians and activists have welcomed the unexpected US-China Declaration that pledged to increase climate cooperation cautiously.
Although the EU and UN considered this a positive and important step, Greenpeace said that each country needed to be more committed.
China and the United States are the two largest global CO2 emitters.
They agreed to work together in order to reach the 1.5C temperature target set forth by the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Scientists believe that keeping global temperatures at 1.5C or less will prevent the most severe impacts on climate change. This figure is comparable to the pre-industrial temperature.
These two rivals were announced Wednesday at the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow. The summit officially closes Friday.
The US President Joe Biden, and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, are expected to have a virtual meeting next week.
China’s climate ambassador said that the announcement came after some 30 meetings in the last 10 months.
- You can read more here about the COP26 summit
- A simple guide for climate change
While the general reaction to this surprise agreement was positive, activists and experts warn that there must be concrete actions to implement the promised results.
Genevieve Maricle from the US Climate Policy Action at WWF said that the announcement provided “new hope,” and suggested the goal of achieving the 1.5C limit.
However, she said that they must be aware of what remains to be done if these countries are going to reduce their emissions in the nine-year period.
Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace International Executive Director warned that China should show more dedication to achieving climate goals.
Kevin Rudd (former Prime Minister of Australia) is President of Asia Society. The Asia Society works on global climate changes agreements.
The current geopolitical situation between China and America is terrible. So it is amazing that Washington and Beijing can reach an agreement right away. [important]He replied, “Yes.”
In the US-China agreement, it is called for greater efforts to reduce the “significant gap” to attain that 1.5C target.
There was agreement on steps to be taken regarding a variety of topics, such as methane emissions and transitioning to clean energy.
Xie Zhenhua from China, the top climate negotiator told reporters there was more agreement than disagreement on climate change.
China has refused to sign an agreement to reduce methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas. Instead, it pledged to create a “national program” to deal with the problem.
John Kerry was the US ambassador to climate issues and he followed Mr Xie. He stated that although there are many differences between China and America, it was important for both countries to cooperate on climate.
“Every single step counts right now, and we have a long way ahead,” he stated.
China is second in carbon dioxide emissions, after the US. In September, Mr Xi declared that China would strive to achieve carbon neutrality in 2060 and set a goal for peak emission by 2030.
USA aims to achieve net-zero in 2050
Other developments from the COP26 summit on climate Wednesday:
- The draft for the final COP26 agreement was released. Countries were urged to increase their carbon-cutting goals by 2022. It also calls for more assistance to vulnerable countries, but many criticize the document as not ambitious enough.
- Boris Johnson, the UK’s Prime Minister, urged all other leaders to allow their negotiators greater leverage in reaching a final agreement. At a press 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.
- Travel was the main focus at COP26 Wednesday. Numerous countries have pledged to eliminate petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles, but the US and China have not signed up. Major manufacturers such as Ford, Mercedes and others have made commitments.
- One of the most important problems facing the globe is climate change. To prevent a greater rise in global temperatures, we need to see more ambition from governments.
- Glasgow’s summit is the place where you can see change. It is important to be aware of the statements made by some of the biggest polluters in the world, such as the US or China. Also, you need to monitor whether the poorer nations are receiving the assistance they require.
- Our lives will be forever changed. 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.
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