China and the United States released a statement on Saturday evening (17) in which they said it was necessary to make bolder commitments to tackle climate change before the end of the year of international negotiations.
The note was released after two days of meetings between US climate envoy John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, in Shanghai. “The United States and China are committed to cooperation bilaterally and with other countries to combat the climate crisis,” the two countries said in the statement. Washington and Beijing will continue to discuss “concrete steps in this decade to reduce emissions and maintain the limit. Sustainable temperature increase established in the Paris Agreement.”
Kerry arrived in Shanghai on Wednesday (14) and followed strict protocols due to Covid-19. He was transferred to an isolated hotel, closed to the public, and from there he traveled to Seoul, the capital of South Korea.
Kerry’s trip to Shanghai was the first visit by a senior Biden government official to China since the Democrat took over the White House on January 20 and came after a troubled meeting between officials from the two countries in Alaska in March. The meetings in this Asian country mark the resumption of climate negotiations between the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world. Bilateral negotiations were halted under the Donald Trump administration, which withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement, saying the treaty unfairly sanctioned American companies.
The United States must announce at the climate summit organized by Biden, scheduled for next 22 and 23, a new emission reduction target, in an attempt to regain the confidence of its allies. With the Democrat in power, the country is once again part of the Paris Climate Pact.
Li Shuo, senior climate consultant for Greenpeace, said China may also announce new reduction targets in response to new US commitments, taking advantage of the momentum of the Shanghai negotiations. “The statement is as positive as possible, given the political conditions,” he said, referring to strife between the two countries, ranging from economic issues to human rights.
“This sends an unequivocal message that, on this specific subject, the United States and China will cooperate. Before the Shanghai meetings, this was not a message that we could take for granted,” he adds. .
The event hosted by Biden with dozens of world leaders this week to discuss climate change, with the participation of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, will be online and broadcast live. Between November 1 and 12, in Glasgow, there will be another round of global climate negotiations.
The joint Washington and Beijing statement also says countries agree to discuss specific actions to reduce emissions, including energy storage, carbon capture and hydrogen. They also pledged to increase funding to developing countries for the transition to low-carbon energy sources.
The Paris Agreement, signed in 2015, encourages countries to make more ambitious climate commitments. China has already announced other actions to try to reduce carbon emissions by 2060.