US-China Climate Change Cooperation

By Muhammad Asif Noor | Gwadar Pro Nov 16, 2021

China participated in the global COP26 Climate Summit held in Glasgow, Scotland and concluded an agreement on climate goals with the US. The US-China Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in 2020s would enable both parties to collectively achieve the Paris Climate Agreement goals. It is being uniformly considered the right step in the right direction. The Chief Negotiator of China Xie Zhenhua asserts that both sides need to initiate a joint action to bridge the gap between policy and action over the Paris Agreement. China and the US have no disagreement on the global issue of climate change and both states are assertive to pursue the same agenda in this decade. 

 Conference of the Parties or COP26 is the UN led series of actions to unify climate action worldwide. The US and China agreed at COP26 to cooperate through nationally determined contributions, control of temperature rise and provide the finances. China and the US will establish a working group to monitor the progress on issues of deforestation, the role of methane and coal. John Kerry, the US Presidential Envoy for Climate Change, said that leading economies of the world have reached an agreement to work together on climate change in this decade. The Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, termed the development as an important step in the right direction. Given the urgency and positive deliberations on climate change, COP26 has been a complete success with unanimous global support. 

In this joint declaration, two parties announced their commitments to climate change. China agrees to rapidly scale down coal consumption during its 15th Five Year development Plan. President Xi has also announced at the UNGA summit this year about CO2 emission peak before 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. On the other hand, the US agrees to achieve 100 % carbon-free electricity production by 2035. In addition, both agree to transform distribution policies by introducing new solutions like solar power, storage of electricity, and new clean power solutions for end users. It would help pursue energy efficient policies and set high standards of clean electricity with no waste. 

 The Joint Declaration further stressed the implementation of provisions of the Paris Climate Agreement as they observed the sheer gap between policy recommendations and goals achievement. Thus, they firmly agreed to keep the global temperature below two degrees Celsius and attempt to push it up to 1.5 degrees. In this regard, China and the US identified the factors adding rise to global temperature and affirms taking radical steps for methane emission control at national and sub-national levels. Both parties to develop a comprehensive action plan on methane to achieve significant levels of emission control and reduction in 2020s. 

 China and the US are the two largest emitters of carbon and realizing the fact, both states agreed to reduce their carbon footprint which would eventually enable global efforts to battle climate change. In this regard, China and the US will jointly take concrete steps to advance working mechanisms against climate change and provide financial help to developing states enabling their contribution. If all the states take immediate steps to wean off fossil fuels in this decade, the global temperature can be effectively prevented from soaring. 

 At COP26, all participants reiterate their commitment to take respective actions at this critical time being part of multilateral climate change actions including the UNFCCC process. At COP26, China and the US appear to be the leaders in Climate change to seize this iconic opportunity because if the targets are missed in the 2020s, the world may not be able to make up the loss afterwards. 

As a responsible country, China is contributing and playing its important role in global climate governance that is beneficial for all. China is making its due contribution towards climate change. China is working together with the global community to ensure the Paris Agreement and other important such treaties and protocols should be implemented in a just manner. The COP26 proposed some collective actions to take in line with the Paris Agreement in the respective capacity of all states. Countries agreed to set up regulatory framework and environmental benchmarks concerning the reduced emission of greenhouse gases. 

 The success of COP26 is the success of the whole world where China assumes the leadership role in global policy formulation and implementation on climate change. China aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, which reflects its sheer determination to battle climate change. It is encouraging for the US to come forward for cooperation with China instead of confrontation and divergence as it did during the pandemic. In the primarily global interest, the goals set in the Paris Agreement must be achieved to prevent global catastrophe caused by climate change.

The writer is Founder Friends of BRI Forum

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