Over the next decade, the US and China have agreed to boost climate cooperation. The announcement was made at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. US and China are the world’s two biggest carbon emitters, and they have pledged to act in a joint declaration. To achieve the 1.5C temperature goal set in the Paris Agreement in 2015, both countries will recall their firm commitment to work together.
They said they would increase the effort to achieve the target set in the Paris Agreement. According to climate experts limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C will help humanity avoid the worst climate impacts. At the Paris Agreement, nations pledged to keep the world from warming by more than between 1.5C to 2C by reducing emissions.
US President and his Chinese counterpart are expected to hold a virtual meeting. On several issues, the two countries are seen as global rivals. There was a range of issues on which steps were agreed, like methane emissions, the transition to clean energy, and de-carbonization. Earlier this week, China refused to join an agreement to limit methane. Nearly 100 other countries signed the agreement. To address methane China has instead pledged to develop a national plan.
If the nation wants to keep the temperature 1.5C threshold, reducing carbon emissions in the following years is critical. All nations need to come together to achieve to reduce emissions by 45% in this decade. Earlier at the conference, the US said it would cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030. China has been reluctant to deal with its domestic coal emissions in the short term. So the joint steps agreed on technology transfer, forests, methane is essential in terms of emissions. The agreement also indicates that both nations have decided that there is a massive gap between the efforts of nations to limit emissions to date.
Experts have welcomed the agreement between China and US but warned that both countries need to show more significant commitment to reaching climate goals. The announcement was an essential step in the right direction. Last week, US President criticized the Chinese counterpart for not turning up to the summit in person. The world’s largest carbon dioxide emitter is China, followed by the US. In September, China announced that it would aim for carbon neutrality by 2060. It aims to hit peak emission before 2030. The US is aiming for net-zero by 2050.
For the rest of the world, the primary focus is on China. What steps are they taking to tackle climate change? According to US President, China has lost the ability to influence other nations. Without the cooperation of China, the goal of keeping temperatures from surpassing 1.5°C of warming over preindustrial levels is almost impossible.
Other developments in COP26 –
- Final COP26 deal draft was announced. By the end of 2022 the nations have been asked to strengthen carbon-cutting targets.
- UK Prime Minister urged other national leaders to give their negotiators more leverage to reach a final deal.
- Many nations have promised to phase out diesel-powered and petrol cars. But till now, Germany, China, the US have not signed up.