Wednesday, September 28, 2022

China, US pledge to enhance climate cooperation in UN talks

by Seth Bornstein, Anirudh Ghoshal and Frank Jordan

Glasgow, Scotland (AP) – China and the United States, the world’s top two carbon polluters, pledged to increase their cooperation on climate action in a joint declaration issued at the United Nations climate talks in Glasgow on Wednesday.

In separate news conferences, Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua and US counterpart John Kerry said the two countries would work together to achieve the emissions reductions needed to meet the temperature targets of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

“The whole point of this is that the steps we’re taking, we believe, answer people’s questions about China’s pace and help China and us accelerate our efforts,” Kerry said.

Governments in Paris agreed to jointly reduce emissions to keep global temperature rise “well below” 2 °C (3.6 °F) from pre-industrial times, setting a more stringent target of 1.5 °C. Trying to keep warm to °C (2.7 °C). Fahrenheit) preferred.

Xi said both sides recognize that there is a gap between global efforts to reduce emissions and the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“Therefore we will jointly strengthen climate action and cooperation in relation to our respective national positions,” he said.

The joint announcement came as governments around the world were negotiating in Glasgow how to build on the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect vulnerable countries from the effects of global warming.

A draft deal released Wednesday calls for a moratorium on coal power, the biggest source of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

An early version of the final document also expresses “alarm and concern” about how much Earth has already warmed and urges countries to cut carbon dioxide emissions by about half by 2030. So far pledges to governments do not tie into that often stated goal .

Some countries, especially island states, whose existence is threatened by climate change, warned that the draft was not sufficient in requiring action to limit the rise in global temperatures – or pay for warming and damages to poor countries. From this to help.

“‘Inviting,’ ‘Calling,’ ‘Encouraging,’ and ‘Inviting’ are not the defining language of the moment,” Aubrey Webson, UN Ambassador to Antigua and Barbuda, said in a statement.

With the climate summit closing in on time, there was a clear message to be sent, he said: “To our children and the most vulnerable communities, that we hear you and we are taking this seriously.”

Meeting the Paris goals will require a dramatic reduction in emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas that remain the world’s top sources of energy, despite the development of renewables such as wind and solar power. But setting a deadline for phasing out fossil fuels is highly sensitive for countries that still depend on them for economic growth, including China and India, and for major coal exporters such as Australia. The future of coal is also a hot-button issue in America, where a dispute between Democrats has stalled one of President Joe Biden’s signature climate bills.

The draft calls for an accelerated “phased out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels”, although it does not set a timeline.

Greenpeace International director Jennifer Morgan, a longtime climate negotiation observer, said the call for phasing out subsidies for coal and fossil fuels in the draft would be the first in a UN climate agreement, but a lack of a timeline would limit the pledge. Will give effectiveness.

“This is not a plan to solve the climate emergency. It will not give the kids on the streets the confidence they will need,” Morgan said.

EU climate chief Frans Timmermann was more upbeat about the talks.

“We are prepared and prepared to ensure that we meet the highest possible levels of ambition, thereby accelerating global action,” he said.

The draft is likely to change, but does not yet include full agreements on three key goals that the United Nations has set to go into negotiations: giving poor people $100 billion a year in climate aid for rich countries, To be sure, half that money goes to a pledge to adapt to worsening global warming and reduce global carbon emissions by 2030.

The draft acknowledges “regrettably” that wealthy countries have failed to meet climate finance pledges. They are currently providing about $80 billion a year, which poor countries need in financial help to develop green energy systems and adapt to the worst of climate change, say it is not enough.

Papua New Guinea’s Environment Minister Vera Mori said her country could “reconsider” efforts on logging, coal mining and even coming to UN talks given the lack of financial support.

The draft said the world should strive to achieve “net-zero (emissions) around mid-century”, a goal endorsed by the leaders of the Group of 20 largest economies at a summit just before the Glasgow talks. Was. This means countries need to pump only as much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as can be re-absorbed through natural or artificial means.

Highlighting the challenge of meeting those goals, the document expresses “alarm and concern that human activities have caused approximately 1.1 C (2 F) of global warming to date and that this effect is already in every region.” being felt.”

Separate draft resolutions were also issued for debate in negotiations on other issues, including rules for international carbon markets and the frequency by which countries are to report on their efforts.

The draft calls on countries that do not have national targets that conform to the 1.5- or 2-degree threshold, to come back with stronger goals next year. Depending on how the language is interpreted, the provision may apply to most countries.

“It’s important language,” said David Vasco, director of the World Resources Institute’s International Climate Initiative. “Countries are really expected and on the hook to do something in that time frame to adjust.”

For one of the bigger issues for poor countries, the draft vaguely “urges” developed countries to compensate developing countries for “loss and damage”, a phrase that some rich countries do not like. But there is no concrete financial commitment.

Britain’s Alok Sharma, who is chairing the talks, acknowledged that “important issues remain unresolved”.

He told the interlocutors, “I have a big, big request to all of you, please come armed with the posture of compromise.” “What we agree on in Glasgow will determine the future for our children and grandchildren, and I know we would not want them to fail.”


Associated Press journalists Ellen Nickmeyer and Helena Alves contributed to this report.


Follow the AP’s climate coverage at Follow Borenstein, Jordan, and Ghoshal on Twitter.

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