By Ben Westcott
The US and China have agreed to cooperate on climate change after two days of high-profile meetings in Shanghai, despite rising tensions between the two countries.
In a joint statement released on Sunday, Washington and Beijing said the climate crisis “must be addressed with seriousness and urgency” and agreed to work together to “strengthen” the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
“The United States and China will continue to discuss, both on the road to COP 26 and beyond, concrete actions in the 2020s to reduce emissions aimed at keeping the Paris Agreement-aligned temperature limit within reach,” the statement said.
The announcement followed two days of talks between US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and China Special Envoy for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua in Shanghai on Thursday and Friday.
US President Joe Biden, who has taken a stronger stance on dealing with climate change than his predecessor Donald Trump, is hoping the US will be able to work with Beijing to address carbon emissions while maintaining a firm stance on issues of trade, technology and human rights.
China is the world’s biggest carbon emitter, making the Chinese government’s participation a vital part of any successful plan to address the climate crisis.
In a statement Sunday, China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment said the talks between Kerry and Xie had been “candid, in-depth and constructive.”
“Both sides recognize that climate change is a serious and urgent threat to the survival and development of mankind,” the ministry said, adding that China and the US “will strengthen cooperation, work together with other parties to address the climate crisis.”
The ministry also said the two countries will “further strengthen exchanges and cooperation in areas such as strengthening policy measures, promoting green and low-carbon transitions, and supporting the energy and low-carbon development of developing countries.”