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US and China to work together on climate change measures

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The United States and China, two of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases have pledged to work together on climate change to reducing methane emissions, protect forests, and phase out coal.

John Kerry, US climate envoy told reporters at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow that there was not just an effort but an “imperative to co-operate”.

China’s top negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, Speaking through an interpreter, said there was “more agreement between China and the US than divergence”. He also added that “Both sides recognize that there is a gap between the current effort and the Paris Agreement goals so we will jointly strengthen climate action.”

According to Xie, China and the US had carried out 30 virtual meetings over the course of the last 10 months to come up with the initiative.

John Kerry stated that the countries also agreed to reduce methane emissions and that the agreement with China was a statement of support for a successful United Nations climate summit.

The joint statement promises significant action in the “critical decade of the 2020s”. The agreement sets out plans to work together on tackling the potent gas methane.

According to Bernice Lee, from the Chatham House think tank, though some detail is patchy, the statement should “dissolve any fears that US-China tensions will stand in the way of success at COP26.

She added that ‘But the statement is not enough to close the deal. The real test of Washington and Beijing is how hard they push for a 1.5C aligned deal here in Glasgow.’