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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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COP26: An Apparent US-China Reconciliation On The Climate File

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The discussions at the climate summit are now focusing on texts that will put the sense of compromise to the test. The surprise of the day: an apparent US-China reconciliation on the climate issue.

The two countries have issued a rare joint statement promising action. It says both sides will “reiterate their strong commitment to work together” to achieve the 1.5°C temperature goal set by the Paris agreement.

They called for intensified efforts to close the “significant gap” that remains to be bridged to reach that goal.

After days of excitement and announcements, the global climate summit in Glasgow has now entered the “hard” part. Participants at COP26 are now focusing on the draft texts that will form the official decisions. And it is especially the “chapeau” text that attracts attention. A document that, for the moment, looks more like a shopping list than a real COP conclusion. Everyone finds more or less their youth in the text of the British presidency.

China and the United States have agreed to strengthen their cooperation on climate issues over the next decade, in a surprise announcement at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

According to scientists, limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5°C will allow humanity to avoid the worst climate impacts. This value is compared to pre-industrial temperatures.

In 2015, world leaders pledged to try to prevent global warming of more than 1.5°C to 2°C by significantly reducing emissions.

China’s top climate negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, told reporters that on climate change, “there are more agreements between China and the U.S. than differences.”

He was followed by John Kerry, the U.S. climate envoy, who said that the U.S. and China “have no shortage of differences, but when it comes to climate, cooperation is the only way to get the job done.”

Joint actions have been agreed on a range of issues, including methane emissions, the transition to clean energy and decarbonization.

But China refused to join an agreement reached earlier this week to limit methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. That agreement was signed by nearly 100 other countries. Instead, China committed to developing a “national plan” to combat methane.

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