By Celine Lai

Renew Economy has reported here that the United States and China released an unexpected joint statement on 10th November 2021, confirming that the two major world powers will cooperate on accelerating action on climate change, including a commitment to phase down the use of coal and tackle methane emissions. The following article is from Renew Economy.

“Between them, the United States and China are responsible for more than 40 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

The statement sees the two countries reiterate their commitments to significantly reduce their consumption of fossil fuels, with the United States committing to “reach 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035” and China, in turn, committing to “phase down coal consumption during the 15th Five Year Plan”, which starts from 2026, “and make best efforts to accelerate this work.

The two countries have also committed to reducing methane emissions in recognition of its status as a potent greenhouse gas, as well as eliminating illegal deforestation.

The commitment of yet another major purchaser of Australian coal to phase out its use of the fossil fuel, will further heap pressure on a Morrison government that has so far refused to acknowledge that global momentum is building towards the end of coal.

Head of research at the Climate Council, Simon Bradshaw, said the US-China statement was a major milestone for the COP26 talks, given fears of tensions between the two countries on matters of climate action.

This is a big deal. One of the big fears going into Glasgow is China and the US would be at loggerheads, but in fact what this statement says is they will collaborate, despite their differences. The focus on accelerating action this decade – in the 2020s – is significant,” Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw said “Right now Australia is being left in the dust as other countries race to embrace renewable energy. The cost of inaction on climate is not just Australia’s international standing, but also the economic cost of not leading the race on renewables.”

All of the above is taken from the Renew Economy article, at this link here.

The World Wildlife Fund stated, in reaction to the Statement:

“The unexpected and welcome joint declaration between the United States and China represents an important commitment between the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases. No less relevant in the context of this agreement, they are also the two largest economies in the world. Between them they have the power to unlock vast financial flows from the public and private sectors that can speed the transition to a low carbon economy.”

“This announcement comes at a critical moment at COP26 and offers new hope that, with the support and backing of two of the world’s most critical voices, we may be able to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees.”

“But we must also be clear eyed about what is still required if the two countries are to deliver the emission reductions necessary in the next nine years. 1.5C-alignment will require a whole-of-economy response.”

“For the United States, the next steps must be to push for the most ambitious possible outcome at COP26, for Congress to secure passage of the Build Back Better bill, and to align the full power of the entire U.S. federal government with the contributions of non-federal institutions across society.”

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