Two world’s largest emitters, China and United States strike deal to boost climate cooperation

China and the United States, the world’s two largest emitters of carbon dioxide, unveiled a deal to ramp up cooperation tackling climate change, including by reducing methane emissions, protecting forests and phasing out coal.

In a joint statement announced at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, the countries said they had reached an agreement to redouble efforts to fight climate change with “concrete actions”.

The two biggest carbon-polluting countries said their deal calls for “enhanced climate action in the 2020s” using the 2015 Paris climate deal’s guidelines, including a new stronger emission cuts target in 2025.

The agreement also calls for “concrete and pragmatic” regulations in decarbonisation, reducing methane emissions and fighting deforestation.

“Both sides recognise that there is a gap between the current effort and the Paris Agreement goals so we will jointly strengthen climate action,” China’s climate envoy Xie Zhenhua said in announcing the agreement on Wednesday.

According to Xie, the deal would involve “concrete plans” for enhanced action this decade and both countries were “to work on the finalisation of the Paris Agreement rulebook” at the UN climate summit in Glasgow.

The 2015 accord commits nations to work towards limiting global temperature rises to between 1.5C and 2C through sweeping emissions cuts.

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

The China and the United States together account for some 40 percent of all carbon pollution.