US, China Say They Agree on Urgency of Climate Change

Announcement precedes Biden's summit this week
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2021 11:30 AM CDT
US, China Promise to Work Together on Climate Change
Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Yucheng speaks during an interview Friday in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Setting the stage for President Biden's summit this week, the US and China announced Sunday that they've agreed to cooperate in urgently addressing climate change. A joint statement said the two powers are "committed to cooperating with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis, which must be addressed with the seriousness and urgency that it demands," the BBC reports. It also said the US and China agreed to help developing countries financially in their change to low-carbon energy. The joint statement followed meetings in Shanghai between Xie Zhenhua and John Kerry, the two nations' climate envoys. Biden's virtual climate talks, scheduled to begin Thursday, will include leaders from around the world, but it's not known if President Xi wll attend. The next UN climate summit is scheduled for November.

Le Yucheng, vice foreign minister, indicated Friday that no major climate promises should be expected from China this week, per the AP. "For a big country with 1.4 billion people, these goals are not easily delivered," he said. Still, Kerry said Sunday that the wording in the joint statement is strong and includes "critical elements on where we have to go." Talks on climate change involving the two nations—the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world—had stopped during the administration of President Trump. Against that backdrop, a climate adviser for Greenpeace said Sunday's statement "sends a very unequivocal message" of cooperation on the issue, per Reuters. "Before the meetings in Shanghai this was not a message that we could assume," Li Shuo said. (Read more climate change stories.)

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