The United States and China announced at COP26 that they will work together to develop specific targets, policies and technology to curb emissions.
They say they will develop regulatory frameworks and environmental standards to reduce emissions and announce new national targets within four years to be reached by 2035. They also intend to maximize clean energy transition and develop carbon capture, utilization and storage platforms.
The countries are the world’s two largest in emitting greenhouse gas emissions and say they will collaborate to especially curb carbon and methane emissions.
“It’s beneficial not only to our two countries but the world as a whole that two major powers in the world, China and the US, shoulder special international responsibilities and obligations,” Chinese special climate envoy Xie Zhenhua said at a COP26 news conference. “We need to think big and be responsible.”
The announcement comes at the end of a busy COP26, which saw government leaders make many commitments to improve the sustainability and business leaders call for more work on improving and achieving these targets. .
The US and China laid out plans specifically on carbon and methane emissions.
Regarding methane, the countries will meet in the first half of 2022 to determine how to better measure and mitigate emissions of the gas and will develop standards to reduce it from industries such as agriculture.
The US has already announced the Methane Emissions Action Plan and China says it will develop a similar program.
The countries also say they will work together to reduce carbon emissions by developing low-cost renewable energy. They intend to develop efficient electricity supply and demand across geographic areas. They will also implement solar and other clean power programs.
The US says it plans to produce completely carbon free electricity by 2035, which is among its ambitious clean energy goals. China says it will phase down coal consumption during a 15-year plan and will accelerate efforts regarding that goal.
China had a power crunch earlier this year that impacted manufacturing and said then it planned to stop producing coal power plants. The two sides will also continue their support for the elimination of international thermal coal power generation.
China and the US also say they will focus on helping developing nations improve their sustainability by jointly providing $100 billion per year through 2025 to address those needs.
“We need to help countries adapt. There needs to be greater focus on adaptation,” US climate envoy John Kerry told NPR. “Yes, it does mean committing money … money and technology and assistance. We’re prepared to do that. We also need strong mitigation, because if you don’t mitigate enough, you’ll never be able to adapt your way out of this problem.”
The US and China plans to develop a working organization that will constantly build on these goals and to make sure the agreement is progressing through the end of the decade. They say they will have much of the structure of this agreement in place by COP27.