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US China Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s

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Chinese Diplomat Xie Zhenhua announces the declaration at COP26
Chinese Diplomat Xie Zhenhua announces the declaration at COP26

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China and the US announced a Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s. This is the result of regular engagement between both countries since the Joint Statement in April. This declaration makes clear that both countries recognise the urgency of the climate crisis and commit to enhanced action in the 2020s. 

To close the significant gap between current climate actions and those needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, the US and China intend to establish a “Working Group on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s” with regular policy and technical dialogues, which will hold its first meeting in the first half of 2022. They intend to cooperate to enhance the measurement of methane emissions, as well as to exchange information on their respective policies and programs and conduct joint research into reduction challenges and solutions.  Both countries also intend to cooperate further on the clean energy transition and eliminating global illegal deforestation. The declaration does not include any new commitments on the crucial issue of coal.  

To show that they are serious about enhancing climate action in the 2020s, the US and China will now need to work with other countries to deliver ambitious outcomes at COP26, including a decision text with strong accountability and robust commitments on climate finance.

Quotes – US China Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s

Byford Tsang, E3G Senior Policy Advisor said 

This declaration is a reassuring sign that the world’s two biggest emitters can work together on the biggest crisis humanity is facing. It creates the space for a more ambitious outcome at COP26. But to walk the talk they’d now need to support a strong political commitment at the COP26 on mitigation and climate finance, and rally other countries to do the same.

Belinda Schäpe, E3G Researcher said 

This is an important step as there is no pathway for 1.5C without engagement on climate between China and the US. Both sides acknowledge the urgency of the climate crisis and show that cooperation on this issue is possible despite tense relations. With enhanced actions in the 2020s, the US and China must show that they are taking the responsibility they promised to prevent dangerous climate change. This must now be reflected in the negotiating rooms and in the final cover decision text at COP26.

Alexandra Hackbarth, E3G Senior Policy Advisor said:  

Pressure was mounting in Glasgow, and neither US nor China wanted to be seen as the villain of COP. At home, President Biden and President Xi face resistance, politically, and from the reality that the transition from dirty to clean is and will be difficult. Countervailing pressure from the international community is helpful, and in fact may even be welcomed by Biden and Xi. It is now incumbent on the parties to make good on the climate action outlined in the declaration.

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Notes to Editors

  1. E3G is an independent climate change think tank accelerating the transition to a climate safe world. E3G specialises in climate diplomacy, climate risk, energy policy and climate finance. -> About
  2. To receive updates and analysis from COP26 via E3G’s daily media WhatsApp broadcast, register here.

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