Seoul, April 18
The US and China, the world’s two biggest carbon polluters, agreed to cooperate to curb climate change with urgency, just days before President Joe Biden hosts a virtual summit of world leaders to discuss the issue.
The agreement was reached by US special envoy for climate John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua during two days of talks in Shanghai last week, according to a joint statement.
Consensus on key areas reached
- Both countries reached a consensus on key areas for future cooperation on climate issues, says Su Wei, a member of the Chinese negotiation team.
- Noting that China is the biggest coal user, John Kerry, US special envoy for climate, says he and Chinese officials discussed on how to accelerate a global energy transition.
- Biden has invited 40 world leaders, including China’s Xi Jinping, to the April 22-23 summit.
The two countries “are committed to cooperating with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis, which must be addressed with the seriousness and urgency that it demands,” said the statement, issued Saturday evening US time.
Meeting with reporters in Seoul on Sunday, Kerry said the language in the statement is “strong” and that the two countries agreed on “critical elements on where we have to go.”
But the former secretary of state said, “I learned in diplomacy that you don’t put your back on the words, you put on actions. We all need to see what happens.”
Focus on critical points
The language in the (joint) statement is strong. The two countries agree on critical elements on where we have to go. John Kerry, us special envoy for climate
China is the world’s biggest carbon emitter, followed by the United States. The two countries pump out nearly half of the fossil fuel fumes that are warming the planet’s atmosphere. Their cooperation is key to the success of global efforts to curb climate change, but frayed ties over human rights, trade and China’s territorial claims to Taiwan and the South China Sea have been threatening to undermine such efforts.
Noting that China is the world’s biggest coal user, Kerry said he and Chinese officials had a lot of discussions on how to accelerate a global energy transition.
Su Wei, a member of the Chinese negotiation team, told state broadcaster CCTV on Sunday that a major accomplishment of the talks was “restarting the dialogue and cooperation between China and the US on climate change issues.” Su said the two countries reached a consensus on key areas for future cooperation on climate issues. Biden has invited 40 world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, to the April 22-23 summit. — Agencies