COP26: Three questions on the surprise agreement announced by the United States and China

COP26: Three questions on the surprise agreement announced by the United States and China

At the moment, the meeting is not at stake. Can COP26 do better? China and the United States, the world’s leading emitters of greenhouse gases, announced a surprise agreement at COP26 on Wednesday evening, reviving hopes two days before the end of this crucial climate summit.

  • What do we find in this agreement?

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, host of the Glasgow Conference, had barely appealed for “strong impetus” in the talks, assuring that there would be “no excuse” for failing, when Beijing and Washington “joint statement On strengthening climate action”.

“This document contains strong statements about the alarming studies conducted by scientists, the reduction of carbon emissions and the urgent need to accelerate action to achieve this,” US Special Envoy John Kerry told reporters. “She is committed to a range of important tasks in this decade, when they are needed,” he said.

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“The United States and China, including the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (…) released on August 9, 2021, recognize the gravity and urgency of the climate crisis,” the two superpowers say. “The intention of both sides is to seize this critical moment to engage in expanded and joint individual efforts to accelerate the transition to a global net zero economy,” he added.

  • In what areas do the two powers intend to cooperate?

In their joint declaration, the two main world powers, whose rivalry has spilled over into climate diplomacy in recent months, pledged to do more to tackle global warming, the consequences of which are increasingly being felt. Around the world: droughts, floods, mega-fires, with their ever-increasing processions of victims and damages.

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They promise, without very precise details, to “take reinforced measures to enhance ambitions during 2020”, reaffirming their commitment to the objectives of the Paris Agreement, with a limit of 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. Warming “well below” era, and if possible at 1.5 °C. However, according to the United Nations, the world is still on a “catastrophic” trajectory of 2.7°C warming, and COP26 is seen as key to getting the climate fight back on track.

Beijing and Washington are also committed to working in Glasgow for “an ambitious, balanced and inclusive outcome on mitigation (low emissions), adaptation and financial support” for poor countries.

The two sides intend to cooperate on a certain number of topics related to the reduction of CO2 emissions, but also of methane. China and the United States eventually intend to form a “working group on strengthening climate action in the 2020s,” which will meet regularly to address the climate crisis and move the process forward. multilateral, focusing on consolidating concrete actions during this decade”, they explain.

  • What are the reactions?

An agreement was described by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as “an important step in the right direction”. “Beyond the COP, it is important for the world”, for his part, declared AFP vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermann.

Lawrence Tubiana, director of the European Climate Foundation, believes the declaration proves that “the two countries can cooperate to combat the climate crisis”. “They must now cooperate to guarantee an ambitious outcome at COP26. That means putting us on the right track by 1.5 degrees and providing the critical support needed to the most vulnerable,” she adds.

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Bernice Lee, a climate expert at Chatham House, a UK-based think tank, believes that “it can only be good news that the United States and China are working together on climate change and mitigation of methane emissions”. If she still sees some details on the implementation of these commitments, Bernice Lee believes that “the announcement should allay any fear that US-Chinese tensions are hindering the success of COP26”. .

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“The two global carbon superpowers can refocus on the common climate emergency and commit to working together despite rising geopolitical tensions in other regions. This can only be positive, for both countries and the world. To “, finally the independent organization China Dialogue responded through the voice of its president Sam Gale.


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