China and US announce surprise agreement to tackle climate crisis

10 November 2021, 19:25 | Updated: 10 November 2021, 22:12

America's climate envoy, John Kerry, made the announcement at COP26.
America's climate envoy, John Kerry, made the announcement at COP26. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

The US and China have announced a surprise plan to work together on cutting greenhouse gas emissions to tackle the crucial climate crisis at COP26.

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The world's biggest polluters released a joint statement at the climate summit on Wednesday evening, pledging to "co-operate" and take action this decade.

America's climate envoy, John Kerry, made the announcement to world leaders in Glasgow, as he said co-operation is the only way to get the job done.

Mr Kerry said: "The United States and China have no shortage of differences, but on climate, co-operation is the only way to get this job done.

"This is not a discretionary thing, frankly, this is science, it's maths and physics that dictate the road that we have to travel. And we cannot reach our goals unless all of us work together.

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"Every country, China and the United States particularly, as the two largest emitters in the world, both have to help show the way.

"We need to raise ambition and we need to take action in this decisive decade."

Mr Kerry said the US will work with China to limit methane - a greenhouse gas up to 80 times more destructive, more potent, than CO2.

"China has committed to develop, by COP27 next year, a comprehensive and ambitious national action plan on methane and it will produce a significant effect on methane emissions control and reductions in this critical decade," he told the press conference.

"The statement lays out important steps on CO2 emissions as well, including the need to accelerate using best efforts by all of us to phase down unabated coal in this decade, as fast as is achievable."

He added: "The effort to reduce emissions by 45% this decade is a tall order, and it will require all of our nations coming together in order to achieve it.

"This declaration makes a statement about that effort to co-operate, about the imperative to co-operate.

"It declares specifically and identifies the need to accelerate the transition to a global net-zero economy."