NOVEMBER 11, 2021
The U.S. and China released a joint agreement Wednesday affirming the two superpowers and adversaries would work together to combat the climate crisis, with urgency this decade.
The agreement states that both nations, the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters, will establish a working group “which will meet regularly” to discuss climate measures. China produces 27% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, significantly more than the rest of the developed world. The U.S., the next biggest emitter, produces 11%.
The pledge comes as China’s commitment to Paris Agreement goals have been in question as negotiations take place at the U.N. global climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
The two countries agreed to “further recognize the seriousness and urgency of the climate crisis” by committing to “accelerated actions in the critical decade of the 2020s, as well as through cooperation in multilateral processes.”
Though it’s light on specific targets, the pledge puts into writing that both sides agree on the need to work together and individually to lower emissions and usher in a clean energy transition.
The pledge states both countries will work to lower carbon and methane emissions and employ green technology such as carbon capture and sequestration — goals that both countries already agreed to when they signed onto the Paris Agreement in 2015.
Chinese President Xi Jinping did not attend the climate talks, and President Biden, speaking to reporters last week, said it was a “big mistake” for Xi to skip the summit. Mr. Biden has long framed China as an opponent in the race to win the green energy economy and ultimately, the twenty-first century.
“We showed up. And by showing up, we’ve had a profound impact on the way I think the rest of the world is looking at the United States and its leadership role,” the president said last Wednesday.
Climate negotiations are continuing in Glasgow and will conclude Friday.