The announcement came after a meeting in Shanghai on Thursday and Friday between Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua and his US counterpart John Kerry, according to China’s environment ministry.
“The United States and China are committed to cooperating with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis,” their joint statement said.
The two countries will continue to talk about “concrete actions in the 2020s to reduce emissions aimed at keeping the Paris Agreement-aligned temperature limit within reach.”
Kerry arrived in Shanghai on Wednesday night, following strict Covid-19 procedures, and was taken to a secluded hotel that was not accessible to the public. After that, he went to Seoul.
His visit to Shanghai was the first high-level visit to China by a Biden administration official since the new president took office, and it came after a tense exchange between officials from the two countries in Alaska in March.
The meetings also mark the resumption of climate negotiations between the world’s two largest glasshouse gas emitters. Bilateral talks came to a halt under Donald Trump’s presidency, after he withdrew from the 2015 Paris deal, saying it wrongly targeted US companies.
In order to regain the confidence of global partners, the United States is scheduled to issue a new commitment to kerb glasshouse gas emissions. Biden reintroduced the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement.
Greenpeace senior climate advisor Li Shuo predicted that China would soon answer to a new US pledge with its own, capitalising on the “momentum” of the Shanghai talks.
“The statement in my view is as positive as the politics would allow: It sends a very unequivocal message that on this particular issue (China and the United States) will cooperate. Before the meetings in Shanghai this was not a message that we could assume,” Li said.
This week, Biden will host a virtual conference for scores of world leaders to address climate change, which will be livestreamed for the public to see. The global climate talks are set to take place in Glasgow from November 1 to 12.
According to the release, the two countries have agreed to discuss concrete emission-cutting measures such as energy conservation, carbon capture, and hydrogen. They stated that they will take steps to increase funding for developed countries transitioning to low-carbon energy sources.
If countries are willing, the Paris agreement invites them to make more aggressive climate commitments. China has also pledged more aggressive measures as it strives to achieve its aim of being “carbon neutral” by 2060.