By Vishal Gulati
Glasgow, Nov 11 | Despite strained relations, the US and China — world’s top two polluters — just ahead of the culmination of the 12-day-long UN climate change negotiations on Wednesday in a major development pledged to work together, saying they recognise “the urgency of the climate crisis”.
At the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), the US and China recall their joint statement addressing the climate crisis of April 17.
“They are committed to its effective implementation and appreciate the intensive work that has taken place to date and the value of continued discussion,” reads the statement.
The US and China, alarmed by reports including the Working Group Contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report released on August 9th, 2021, further recognize the seriousness and urgency of the climate crisis, it says.
“Every step matters right now and we have a long journey ahead of us,” US Climate Envoy John Kerry was quoted as saying.
The US and China are committed to tackling it through their respective accelerated actions in the critical decade of the 2020s, as well as through cooperation in multilateral processes, including the UNFCCC process, to avoid catastrophic impacts.
The US and China recall their firm commitment to work together and with other Parties to strengthen implementation of the Paris Agreement. The two sides also recall the Agreement’s aim in accordance with Article 2 to hold the global average temperature increase to well below 2 degrees C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees C.
In that regard, they are committed to pursuing such efforts, including by taking enhanced climate actions that raise ambition in the 2020s in the context of the Paris Agreement, with the aim of keeping the above temperature limit within reach and cooperating to identify and address related challenges and opportunities, says the joint statement.
Moving forward, the US and China welcome the significant efforts being made around the world to address the climate crisis.
They nevertheless recognize that there remains a significant gap between such efforts, including their aggregate effect, and those that need to be taken to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
The two sides stress the vital importance of closing that gap as soon as possible, particularly through stepped-up efforts.
They declare their intention to work individually, jointly, and with other countries during this decisive decade, in accordance with different national circumstances, to strengthen and accelerate climate action and cooperation aimed at closing the gap, including accelerating the green and low-carbon transition and climate technology innovation.
The two sides are intent on seizing this critical moment to engage in expanded individual and combined efforts to accelerate the transition to a global net zero economy.
The two sides recall their intention to continue discussing, both on the road to COP 26 and beyond, concrete actions in the 2020s to reduce emissions aimed at keeping the Paris Agreement-aligned temperature limit within reach.
The two sides intend to cooperate, among others, on: regulatory frameworks and environmental standards related to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in the 2020s; maximizing the societal benefits of the clean energy transition; policies to encourage decarbonization and electrification of end-use sectors; key areas related to the circular economy, such as green design and renewable resource utilization; and deployment and application of technology such as CCUS and direct air capture.
(Vishal Gulati can be reached at email@example.com)