The United States and China pledged to work together to cut greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade in a surprise joint announcement at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland on Nov. 10.
Under the “Declaration for Enhanced Climate Action in the 2020s,” the U.S. and China would cooperate closely to achieve the 1.5 degrees Celsius global average temperature goal set out in the Paris agreement.
“Both sides recognize that there is a gap between the current effort and the Paris agreement goals, so we will jointly strengthen our Paris efforts and cooperation… to accelerate a green and low carbon transition,” China’s top climate negotiator Xie Zhenhua said, as quoted by British newspaper The Guardian.
Xie also told reporters that “there is more agreement between China and U.S. than divergence” on climate change.
U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry similarly said that the two largest economics in the world “have no shortage of differences. But cooperation is the only way to get this job done.”
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the joint agreement.
“Tackling the climate crisis requires international collaboration and solidarity, and this is an important step in the right direction,” Guterres said on Twitter.
The joint agreement came amid growing political tensions between the U.S. and China, including recent criticisms aimed at each other at the climate summit.
The announcement also came after China refused to join an agreement with nearly 100 countries in limiting methane. Instead, it pledged to develop its own national plan.
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