China, U.S. vow joint efforts to implement Paris Agreement

Ross Houston
April 18, 2021

Xi previous year announced that China, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, would achieve a peak in carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060.

China and the United States have agreed to cooperate on the issue of climate change, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and China Special Envoy for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua said in a joint statement.

Chinese President Xi Jinping slammed the European Union's plan for a carbon tax system today in a call with the leaders of France and Germany, state media reported.

Kerry's Shanghai trip marked the highest-level travel to China by a USA official since Biden took office in January.

Meanwhile, China signaled that it was unlikely to declare any new targets at next week's virtual climate summit hosted by USA president Biden.

With the world badly off track to meeting the goal, Biden hopes his summit will result in stronger pledges in advance of UN-led climate talks in Glasgow at the end of the year. China has already set an ambitious target to become carbon-neutral by 2060.

It's unclear how much Kerry's China visit would promote US-China cooperation on climate issues.

The US and China remain "firmly committed" to working together and with other countries to strengthen the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the statement said. "I am afraid this is not very realistic".

Biden, who has said that fighting global warming is among his highest priorities, had the United States rejoin the Paris climate accord in the first hours of his presidency, undoing the U.S. withdrawal ordered by predecessor Donald Trump. That would basically double the goal first put forth by President Barack Obama as part of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

According to their statement, both Washington and Beijing "intend to develop" their respective long-term strategies to achieve carbon neutrality by the Glasgow meeting.

The two sides are committed to pursuing efforts to hold the global average temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius, limiting it to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is in accordance with Article 2 of the Agreement, according to the statement.

The joint statement listed multiple avenues of cooperation between the United States and China, the world's top two economies which together account for almost half of the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change.

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