The flags of the United States and China fly in Boston The flags of the United States and China fly in Boston 

US, China strike deal to curb emissions as COP26 nears end

As the COP26 climate summit enters its final days, the United States and China announce a surprise deal to increase cooperation on climate change.

By Devin Watkins

China and the US unveiled the unexpected agreement late on Wednesday, giving a boost to the UN’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow which wraps up on Friday.

The two nations top the list of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gasses.

US climate envoy John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua announced the deal at a news conference on the sidelines of COP26.

Support for climate summit

Mr. Kerry said the deal sends a strong message to other countries taking part in the summit.

“Together we set out our support for a successful COP26, including certain elements which will promote ambition,” he said. “Every step matters right now, and we have a long journey ahead of us.”

The US is seeking to decarbonize its economy by 2050, but political divisions in Congress are currently holding up the necessary legislation.

‘Ambitious and balanced’

China’s representative pledged his country’s commitment to meeting the goals of the Paris climate agreement and boost its emissions-cutting targets.

Mr. Xie said, “Both sides will work jointly and with other parties to ensure a successful COP26 and to facilitate an outcome that is both ambitious and balanced.”

He added that more than 30 meetings were held over the past 10 months to agree on a joint declaration.

In a declaration, China promised to begin phasing out coal consumption from 2026-2030, as well as its methane emissions, which are mainly linked to the coal industry.

Cautious welcome

Some activist groups, including Greenpeace, say the China-US agreement is long on promises and short on detail.

But many experts and organizations expressed support for the deal, with the EU and the UN praising it as an encouraging and important step.

Frans Timmermans, the head of the EU’s climate policy, told Reuters news service the agreement shows that even countries at odds in various areas can find common ground “on what is the biggest challenge humanity faces today.”

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11 November 2021, 10:55