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Monday, April 19, 2021, 10:30
Climate talks set to bolster global efforts
By Hou Liqiang
Monday, April 19, 2021, 10:30 By Hou Liqiang

Experts have commended a China-US joint climate statement issued amid the rift between the world's two largest economies, saying it will inject impetus into the world's multilateral climate process and boost confidence to address the global climate crisis.

The statement was made after a four-day visit to China by US special climate envoy John Kerry that concluded on Saturday, during which he talked with his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, according to a news release from the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

Aside from beefing up each nation's climate action, China and the US will cooperate with each other under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement on climate, according to a news release from the Ministry of Ecology and Environment

Aside from beefing up each nation's climate action, the two sides will cooperate with each other under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement on climate, the news release said.

Reached in 2015, the Paris Agreement aims to keep the global temperature rise this century below a 2 C increase from preindustrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 C.

"China and the United States are firmly committed to working together and with other parties to strengthen implementation of the Paris Agreement," reads the joint statement.

READ MORE: Full text of China-US joint statement on climate crisis

After reviewing the goals of the agreement, the two sides pledged to make enhanced efforts to bring the goals into reality while joining hands to identify and address opportunities and challenges, according to the statement.

China and the US both look forward to the Leaders Summit on Climate hosted by the US on Thursday and Friday, according to the statement. They share the summit's goal of raising global climate ambition on mitigation, adaptation and support on the road to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or COP 26, to be held in the United Kingdom in November.

Zhang Jianyu, founder and chief representative of the Environmental Defense Fund's China program, said the joint statement shows that China and the US have resumed their national-level climate cooperation, which has been suspended for five years.

Sending a "strong, positive signal" to the international community, the statement will not only provide guidance but also add momentum to other nations' joint efforts to implement the Paris Agreement, he said.

ALSO READ: Climate fight needs China-US cooperation

Zou Ji, president of Energy Foundation China, said the resumption of China-US climate cooperation has far-reaching significance, as "it not only injects impetus into the multilateral process of COP 26 and the Paris Agreement, but also marks the restart of dialogues on strategy and policy between the two governments."

He said the statement shows that there are still valid foundations for cooperation between the two countries on tackling the climate crisis, and the two nations have "intelligence and capability to roll out cooperation under complicated conditions".

Living up to expectations of the world, the statement is expected to bring concrete benefits to sustainable development of the two nations and also the entire world, he added.

With various concrete actions to be taken, the joint statement demonstrates the two countries' willingness to promote practical cooperation, he said.

READ MORE: Healthy Sino-US relationship 'encouraged'

According to the joint statement, China and the US will both take measures to phase out production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons, a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, as required by the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which came into effect in 2019.

It also listed eight major areas that the two nations will discuss, including the decarbonization of industry and power, energy efficient buildings and green, low-carbon transportation.

"As the dialogue continues to deepen, the two countries may still have different understandings over certain issues and confront divergence," he said. "As long as the two nations enhance dialogue and communication …they will surely move cooperation forward."

Lin Jiaqiao, co-founder and co-director of the Rock Environment and Energy Institute, said the joint statement has brought hope for the two nations to walk toward substantive climate cooperation, which is key to realizing the goals included in the Paris Agreement.

"Without joint efforts of China and the US, it's almost impossible to achieve the Paris Agreement targets," he said.

However, he added that the two nations still need further efforts to work on how to implement the concrete measures included in the statement, as well as to find solutions to resolve their differences.

China and the US also intend to take appropriate actions to maximize international investment and financing to facilitate developing nations' transition from carbon-intensive, fossil fuel-based energy to green, low-carbon and renewable energy, according to the joint statement.

READ MORE: China ready to boost climate cooperation with US, others

In an interview with The Associated Press, Vice-Foreign Minister Le Yucheng called on the US to "double its efforts to make up for the damage" caused by the country's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement under former president Donald Trump, at least by providing more funds and technology support to developing nations.

China welcomes US President Joe Biden bringing his nation back into the Paris Agreement and hopes the US will remain committed to the treaty, he said, according to a transcription of the interview released by the ministry on Sunday.

He said China is still considering the invitation that Biden sent to President Xi Jinping to join the Leaders Summit on Climate.

"China will send out positive, cooperative and responsible signals at the summit," he said.


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