U.S., China vow to enhance climate cooperation at U.N. climate talks

Nov 11 , 2021. 3 hours ago – 06:25 KYODO NEWS

WASHINGTON – The United States and China on Wednesday vowed to step up their cooperation in tackling climate change, including work toward reducing methane emissions, in a joint declaration issued during U.N. climate talks in Britain.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres welcomed the agreement between the world’s two largest carbon dioxide emitters, calling it “an important step in the right direction.”

In the declaration, the United States and China said they recall their “firm commitment to work together” on climate issues and that they recognize a “significant gap” remaining between the current efforts to curb emissions and those that need to be taken to achieve the goal of the Paris climate accord.

“The two sides stress the vital importance of closing that gap as soon as possible, particularly through stepped-up efforts,” the two countries said.

The 2015 Paris Agreement sets out a global framework to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change by limiting global warming to “well below” 2 C, preferably to 1.5 C, compared with levels before the Industrial Revolution.

One of the goals of the two-week U.N. climate change conference, which started on Oct. 31 in Glasgow, Scotland, is to keep alive the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 C.

The declaration said the United States and China will work together “with the aim of keeping the above temperature limit within reach and cooperating to identify and address related challenges and opportunities.”

Recognizing the significant role that methane emissions play in increasing temperatures, the two countries plan to cooperate to enhance the measurement of such emissions, exchange information on the management of methane and foster joint research into the challenges of reducing the emissions, according to the document.

China also intends to develop a “comprehensive and ambitious” national action plan on methane, aiming to achieve “a significant effect on methane emissions control and reductions in the 2020s,” it said.

The United States has been pitching an initiative to reduce global methane emissions in a bid to keep the 1.5 C threshold possible. As of Nov. 2, over 100 countries have signed the pledge, though China was not among them.

Methane is a greenhouse gas emitted by human activities such as leaks from natural gas systems and the raising of livestock. It is the second most abundant human-caused greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide.

Collectively, China, the United States, Russia, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria and Mexico are estimated to be responsible for nearly half of all anthropogenic methane emissions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on its website.