The world’s two largest economies and emitters of greenhouse gas emissions, the USA and China, want to expand their cooperation in the fight against global warming. “The US and China have no shortage of differences,” said US climate protection commissioner John Kerry at the world climate conference in Glasgow on Wednesday. “But with the climate, that’s the only way to cope with this task.”
In a joint statement the two states would have agreed “on a basic framework for this cooperation”. “We can’t achieve our goals if we don’t work together.”
The declaration states that in view of the climate crisis they want to use this “critical moment” to accelerate the transformation towards a climate-neutral world economy together and individually. To this end, more ambitious climate protection measures will be taken this decade. A joint working group is also to be set up for this purpose.
Talks about reducing methane emissions in 2022
In addition, the two world powers want to jointly discuss in the first half of the coming year how they can reduce methane emissions. To this end, the USA and the EU had already forged an alliance of dozen countries at the climate conference earlier this week. The aim is to reduce emissions of the second most important greenhouse gas by 30 percent by 2030.
Observers rate China’s current climate protection plans as rather weak. The country does not intend to begin reducing its greenhouse gas emissions until 2030. Now said the head of the Chinese delegation, Xi Zhenhua to the Guardian, also with a view to the former US President Donald Trump: “We are not like some other states that left the Paris climate agreement after the negotiations.”
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres welcomed the declaration by the great powers: “The fight against the climate crisis needs international cooperation and solidarity. And this is a step in the right direction.”
China without concrete commitments, but wants to improve
China made no concrete new commitments on climate protection in the declaration, but did promise to improve its climate protection target for 2030 submitted to the UN under certain circumstances. The People’s Republic came under fire because President Xi Jinping did not come to the summit of heads of state and government last week and only made a written statement.
With a view to the overall inadequate climate protection commitments of the 200 or so countries represented in Glasgow, the USA and China emphasized the importance of closing this gap as soon as possible – “especially with increased efforts”.