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COP26: China-US Climate Agreement

COP26: China-US Climate Agreement

What was announced almost at the end of the proceedings of COP26 by the two largest carbon dioxide producing countries in the world, the United States and China, surprised everyone. The European Union and the United Nations described the statements of Joe Biden (USA) and Xi Jinping (China) as encouraging and important in curbing global warming. It all begins with a joint statement in which China and the United States announce their intent to work together to achieve the goal of limiting the increase in average global temperature to no more than +1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial period, as established by the agreements resulting from COP21 (Paris 2015). All this even if it is in the 2021 edition of UNEP Emissions Gap ReportThe United Nations Environment Program states that we have not yet met this limit and that the planet’s average global temperature is already on course to rise by 2.7°C by the end of the century.

One between the United States and China is Commitment does not contain technical detailsBut, according to many analysts, it appears to be a tacit acknowledgment by China that the climate crisis deserves urgent attention and that it will play a more important role in meeting the global challenge. It promises close cooperation on reducing emissions, while a joint working group will meet “regularly to address issues of the climate crisis” over the next decade. The US president and his Chinese counterpart are expected to hold a virtual meeting early next week, and today’s statement appears to have been agreed upon after nearly 30 meetings in the past 10 months.

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Facts or words? Are the ones that the two great countries promised to make really tangible steps? While the announcement offers “new hope” that the 1.5C limit can be reached, we must also keep our eyes open for what countries see, said Genevieve Markle, US climate policy director for the WWF lobby. They really want to do it, if they really have greenhouse gas emissions reductions in their goals.” Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, president of the Asia Society, which works on global agreements on climate change, said that “the agreement is not a turning point,” but it is. A big step forward: “The current relations between China and the United States are terrible, so the fact that this agreement has now been drawn up between Washington and Beijing is really important.”

contradictions. The agreement provides for addressing a number of issues, including methane emissions, the transition to clean energy and decarbonization. Chinese climate negotiator Xie Zhenhua says there is “more agreement between China and the United States than disagreements” on climate change. But is there really a new path for countries to take? Some doubts are legitimate: while the position of the United States at least UndivagaChina, with an administration apparently committed to increasing popular approval at home, has refused to accede to an agreement to reduce methane, an extremely harmful greenhouse gas, although it has “committed to developing a national plan” to tackle the problem – while new coal-fired power plants It will start working in the coming months.

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In short, if we really want to be optimistic, we must admit that the long road always begins with a small step, and the hope is that this declaration of intent is really the first small step.

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