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US and China Pledge to Cooperate and Take Action on Climate Change

United States (US) and China reiterated their intent to cooperate on climate change in a joint statement released after the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and China Special Envoy for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua met in Shanghai on April 15 and 16, 2021.

The joint statement called for “cooperating in multilateral processes”, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. The US under the Trump administration had pulled out of the 2015 Paris Climate agreement. However, the Biden administration has announced its commitment to fight climate  change and rejoin the Paris Agreement.

“The United States and China are committed to cooperating with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis, which must be addressed with the seriousness and urgency that it demands,” read the statement released by the US Department of State.

The statement comes as a respite over the rising tensions between Washington and Beijing and concerns of climate change advocates regarding the cooperation between two countries on climate change.

The statement further read that both countries intend to develop their respective long-term strategies aimed at net zero GHG emissions/carbon neutrality by COP 26 in Glasgow scheduled in November 2021. The US and China also intend to maximize international investment and finance in support of the transition from carbon-intensive fossil fuel based energy to green, low-carbon and renewable energy in developing countries. The exact mechanism of how this will be achieved has not been announced yet. Both countries also resolved to implement the phasedown of hydrofluorocarbon production and consumption reflected in the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

The US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry visited several Asian countries including India, Bangladesh, and China ahead of a two day Leaders Summit on Climate to be hosted by the US on April 22-23, 2021.