The United States and China surprised the world after they issued a joint statement on Wednesday at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference pledging to cooperate in the fight to slow global warming.

Representatives from the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases were united in declaring that tackling climate change requires setting aside political disagreements and working together.

“The United States and China have no shortage of differences,” U.S. special climate envoy John Kerry said in Glasgow, Scotland, where global leaders have congregated to discuss solutions to the worsening climate crisis. “The U.S. and China have no shortage of differences, but on climate, cooperation is the only way to get this job done.”

Kerry’s counterpart, China’s special climate envoy Xie Zhenhua, said at a press conference that “we need to think big and be responsible. We both see that the challenge of climate change is an existential and severe one” and that “both sides recognize there is a gap between the current efforts and the Paris agreement goals.”


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United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres lauded the agreement.

“I welcome today’s agreement between China and the USA to work together to take more ambitious climate action in this decade,” he wrote on Twitter. “Tackling the climate crisis requires international cooperation and solidarity, and this is an important step in the right direction.”

President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are scheduled to hold a virtual summit next week as a means of easing the growing tensions between their respective nations.

Both leaders have also committed to limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100 as outlined in the Paris agreement, however, many scientists are warning that it may not be possible to keep warming below two degrees Celsius.

Former President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris agreement that was negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

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