The surprise climate pact from the world’s biggest polluters signals political willingness — but is light on details China’s climate envoy announced a deal on Wednesday to boost cooperation with the United States to combat the climate crisis. The announcement came as negotiations at the UN climate conference approached their conclusion, with the goal of securing final pledges before it wraps up on Friday. It also comes after US President Joe Biden criticized Chinese President Xi Jinping for not making an appearance at the UN climate conference in Glasgow. The US and China are the world’s top two greenhouse gas emitters — accounting for around 40% of global emissions.
What did Beijing and Washington agree?
China’s climate envoy Xie Zhenhua said the plan would involve "concrete plans" for enhanced action this decade and a willingness for the US and China to talk about the "finalization of the Paris Agreement rulebook." The Paris Climate Agreement dates back to COP21, which was held in 2016 in Paris.
The joint statement itself is less clear with concrete details, but carries more political significance as the two economic rivals pledged to put aside differences to tackle climate change. The agreement does, however, contain a specific focus on curbing methane emissions. Beijing and Washington have also agreed to meet regularly to address climate issues and both "recognize the seriousness and urgency of the climate crisis. The US has set a goal to reach "100% carbon pollution-free electricity" by the year 2035. China, meanwhile pledged to "phase down" coal consumption.
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