The two largest producers of greenhouse gases in the world, China and the United States, signed a climate protection agreement at the UN climate conference COP26. This was announced by China's Climate Envoy Xie Zhenhua on Wednesday evening in Glasgow. “Both sides recognize that there is a gap between ongoing efforts and the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement,” Xie said, referring to the threat of global warming of 2.7 degrees.
Therefore, the two countries will work together to strengthen climate protection, Xie added. In addition, there are “concrete plans” in the agreement. Thus, the agreement was drawn up in 30 online meetings with representatives of both countries over the past ten months.
“As two great powers in the world, we must take the responsibility of working with others to tackle climate change,” Xie said. He also pledged that in Glasgow, both countries will also work to finalize a set of rules for concrete implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement.
US Climate Envoy John Kerry confirmed the agreement. He said in Glasgow that cooperation on climate protection is "the only way" to deal with the climate crisis. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called the agreement between the two countries "an important step in the right direction."
The Paris Agreement provides for limiting global warming to well below two degrees, but, if possible, to 1.5 degrees. According to the UN, by the end of the century, a sharp warming of 2.7 degrees is expected on Earth, even if all national obligations to protect the climate are met. China and the United States together account for nearly 40 percent of the world's climate-damaging CO2 emissions.
In Glasgow, nearly 200 states have been negotiating concrete implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement since October 31st. COP26 officially ends on Friday.
Nick Mabi, head of think tank E3G, said the announcement was primarily a geopolitical signal. This would put an end to the "verbal feud", they advocate climate cooperation and multilateral forums. This, in turn, increases the pressure on both countries to tackle the problems and make the COP successful.