United States and China Join Forces: A Step Towards Climate Collaboration


Before the climate summit, the United States and China have promised to form a working group to address the issue. The world’s two largest polluters, the Chinese and the Americans, are trying to put aside their differences in order to deal with the climate crisis.

Joe Biden, vice president of the United States, and Xi Jinping, president of China, meet on the outskirts of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.

The United States and China agreed to revive a climate cooperation working group and pledged significant increases in renewable energy production. The two governments confirmed the news today, just before a meeting between their respective heads of state was scheduled for today in San Francisco. The world’s two largest polluters, the Chinese and the Americans, are trying to put aside their differences in order to deal with the climate crisis.

Cooperation on climate change has long been seen as a bright spot in an otherwise tense relationship between the United States and China, which has shown itself in areas as diverse as trade, technology, human rights, and geopolitics.

Separate statements were released by the U.S. Department of State and China’s Ministry of Ecology and the Environment on Thursday after meetings between U.S. climate envoy John Kerry and Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua in California at the beginning of this month. This year, the two representatives also met in Pequim for talks.

According to the communication, the two countries have agreed to “operationalize” a stalled bilateral working group in order to “engage in dialogue and cooperation to accept concrete climatic actions” this decade. Such a working group was first proposed by Kerry and Xi at the 2021 United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, but has been on hold since August last year.

China has pledged to reduce emissions in the face of the ongoing climate crisis by following “its own path.”

The declaration also promises a significant increase in renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power as well as battery storage to help manage each country’s massive energy sector, and more specifically to replace fossil fuels like coal, petroleum, and natural gas that contribute to global warming.

To speed up “the substitution for coal, petroleum, and natural gas,” China and the United States have agreed to “accelerate sufficiently the installation of renewable energy” in their respective economies by the end of 2030. Both nations have pledged their support for efforts to “triple the capacity of renewable energy globally by 2030” and said they want to significantly reduce emissions from their energy sector by the end of this decade.

Both countries have agreed to reduce their use of all greenhouse gases by 2035 as part of their international climate commitments. These gases include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The agreement aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a threshold beyond which scientists warn will make it more challenging for humans and other organisms to adapt to climate change impacts like heat waves and droughts.

For the first time, China has publicly stated its intention to limit greenhouse gas emissions beyond carbon dioxide, according to its current climate goals, according to a Chinese academic based in Beijing who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

“Given the current political climate, both sides made good faith efforts to identify areas of agreement that may lead to progress. The student said, “He’s very practical.”

China’s promise to set release targets for all emissions of greenhouse gases was undeniably the most notable part of the declaration, according to Li Shuo, director of the China Climate Hub at the Institute of Asian Social Policy.

Although China has promised to limit its emissions “before 2030,” the exact date of this reduction has not been disclosed. But there are signs that the country’s rapid accumulation of wind and solar power is beginning to replace the car: a Carbon Brief analysis released this week predicted that China’s emissions would start falling next year and even predict an even larger shift in the other direction.

Despite China’s promises to significantly increase its use of renewable energy sources, no clear statements have been made on whether or not the country plans to phase out the use of coal, the most polluting kind of fossil fuel.

The announcement comes three weeks before COP28, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which is being held this year in Dubai. The tone and pace of the annual conference may be determined by the degree to which other countries see signs of cooperation between the world’s two largest emitters.

Since their participation is “a pre-condition for a global significative progress,” Li said that the declaration was a “esforço oportuno de alinhar os EUA e a China” before COP28. However, he stressed that a climate agreement between the United States and China would only include “preparation of the ground” and not “definition of tone,” and that this was the task assigned to COP 28.

When the two countries get together in the United Arab Emirates, negotiations between the United States and China will help stabilize the political situation, but pressing issues like the phase-out of fossil fuels still need significant political effort. China should also keep in mind that other ambitions might be brought to the COP. Stopping the approval of new energy projects is a good next step,” he said.