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April 19, 2021

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Need for tackling climate crisis urgently emphasized

THE United States and China are committed to cooperating with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis with urgency, according to a joint statement issued by the two countries yesterday.

The statement was released after talks between Xie Zhenhua, China’s special envoy for climate change affairs, and John Kerry, US special presidential envoy for climate, from Thursday to Friday in Shanghai.

The two countries would enhance “their respective actions and cooperating in multilateral processes, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement,” the statement read.

“Moving forward, China and the United States are firmly committed to working together and with other parties to strengthen implementation of the Paris Agreement,” it said.

The two sides are committed to pursuing efforts to hold the global average temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius, limiting it to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is in accordance with Article 2 of the Agreement, according to the statement. The two sides look forward to the US-hosted virtual summit on climate change on April 22 and 23.

The statement added that the two countries will take other actions in the short term to further contribute to addressing the climate crisis and will cooperate to promote a successful COP 26 (26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties) in Glasgow, UK, in November.

It said both countries also intend to develop their respective long-term strategies before the Glasgow conference and take “appropriate actions to maximize international investment and finance in support of” the energy transition in developing countries.

Longer-term actions that need to be taken to keep the temperature goals of the Paris accord “within reach” include reducing emissions from industry and power generation while stepping up renewable energy, clean transportation and climate-resistant agriculture.

Meeting with reporters in Seoul yesterday, Kerry said the language in the statement is “strong” and that the two countries agreed on “critical elements on where we have to go.” Kerry said he and Chinese officials had a lot of discussions on how to accelerate a global energy transition.

US President Joe Biden has invited 40 world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, to the April 22-23 summit. The US and other countries are expected to announce more ambitious national targets for cutting carbon emissions ahead of or at the meeting, along with pledging financial help for climate efforts by less wealthy nations.


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