Published: Sun, April 18, 2021
Science | By

Xi discusses climate change with Macron, Merkel

Xi discusses climate change with Macron, Merkel

China and the United States agree that stronger pledges to fight climate change should be introduced before a new round of worldwide talks at the end of the year, the two countries said in a joint statement on Sunday.

The US and China remain "firmly committed" to working together and with other countries to strengthen the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the statement said.

Observers say the comment is apparently aimed at the United States, and that the video summit is an attempt by China to assume a global leadership role on the issue.

With the world badly off track to meeting the goal, Biden hopes his summit will result in stronger pledges in advance of UN-led climate talks in Glasgow at the end of the year.

"Responding to climate change is a common cause of all mankind and it should not become a geopolitical bargaining chip, a target for attacks on other countries or an excuse for trade barriers", the official Xinhua news agency cited Xi as saying in a video summit with the European leaders. The two countries pump out almost half of the fossil fuel fumes that are warming the planet's atmosphere.

China in recent years has taken over the mantle of global climate leadership left vacant when former U.S. president Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris agreement to address the catastrophic effects of global warming.

While Beijing and Washington have clashed over Hong Kong and Xinjiang, the climate issue is seen as a shared interest which cuts through the rancour.

Major emitters of greenhouse gases are preparing for the next United Nations climate summit taking place in Glasgow, U.K., in November.

Li Shuo, a policy advisor at Greenpeace East Asia, said the joint statement showed the "unequivocal commitment" of the United States and China in tackling climate change and should "put global climate momentum back on high gear".

According to the U.S.

China has pledged in the past to make 2030 its peak year for greenhouse gas emissions and in recent months also promised to reach net zero emissions by 2060.

Longer-term actions that need to be taken to keep the temperature goals of the Paris accord "within reach" include reducing emissions from industry and power generation while stepping up renewable energy, clean transportation and climate-resistant agriculture.

It said both countries also intend to develop their respective long-term strategies before the Glasgow conference and take "appropriate actions to maximize global investment and finance in support of" the energy transition in developing countries.

The US is expected to announce an ambitious national target for lowering carbon emissions next week. Kerry is also pushing other nations to commit to carbon neutrality by then.

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