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China and the US at COP26 Reach Sudden ‘Agreement’ on CO2 Reduction

Published: November 14, 2021
Extinction Rebellion protesters are seen during a die in protest outside the entrance to the COP26 site on November 13, 2021 in Glasgow, United Kingdom. (Image: Peter Summers/Getty Images)

China and the U.S. pledged in a joint statement at the COP26 climate conference to ‘Enhance’ Climate Ambition and reduce greenhouse gasses which sounds like made of thin air.

The agreement stated as per the New York Times, stated that America and China, the world’s most notorious polluters according to mainstream media, had the “intention to work individually, jointly, and with other countries during this decisive decade” and to “strengthen and accelerate climate action and cooperation aimed at closing the gap.” 

The Washington Post commented the Glasgow Declaration did not include any hard deadlines or commitments, “and parts of it simply restated efforts that were already underway,” it said. Instead, it stated, the announcement’s “timing and tone seemed intended to grease the Glasgow negotiations as they entered their crucial final stretch.”

“We both see the challenge of climate change is existential and a severe one,” Xie Zhenhua, China’s climate change envoy, said. “As two major powers in the world, China and the United States, we need to take our due responsibility and work together and work with others in the spirit of cooperation to address climate change.”

China promised for the first time to address emissions from methane. However, it dropped out from the negotiations shortly before More than 100 countries came to an agreement on global methane emissions that Joe Biden had proposed last week.  

READ MORE: Biden Travels to Glasgow COP-26 Climate Summit Escorted by Gas-Guzzling Motorcade

The deal entailed a curb on global methane exhaust by 30 percent by 2030. However, Xie said China would follow its own “national plan” to cut methane. 

China, however, committed to “phase down” its coal consumption during its 15th Five Year Plan, which starts in 2026 but failed to provide any real hard deadlines on when it would have peaked its carbon consumption and by what time carbon levels would have been reduced and by what numbers.

“We had lots of discussions about peaking,” John Kerry, the U.S. climate change missionary, said jokingly. “We peaked out on peaking.”

And on a more serious note: “The United States and China have no shortage of differences,” Kerry clarified. “But on climate, cooperation is the only way to get this job done.” He said that the agreement was “a step we can build on in order to help close the gap” on emissions, the Post reported.

“Now the two largest economies in the world have agreed to raise climate ambition in this decisive decade,” Mr. Kerry added.

Through an interpreter, Xie said, “There is more agreement between China and the U.S. than divergence.” With the end of the summit in sight, he added, “We hope that this joint declaration can make a contribution to the success of COP26.” 

More well-sounding hollow phrases included those of Thom Woodroofe, a former climate diplomat and a fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute working on United States-China climate cooperation, who said:

“While this is not a game-changer in the way the 2014 U.S.-China climate deal was, in many ways, it’s just as much of a step forward given the geopolitical state of the relationship,” Woodroofe said. “It means the intense level of US-China dialogue on climate can now begin to translate into cooperation.”

Manish Bapna, president of the Washington-based environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council, said the agreement was “good news.” But, he said, “If we are to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, we urgently need to see commitments to cooperate translate into bolder climate targets and credible delivery.”