US, China unveil surprise deal on climate change

KERRY: “Today the United States and China are releasing a joint declaration…”

In a surprise move, the United States and China, the world's two largest emitters of carbon dioxide, on Wednesday unveiled a deal to work together tackling climate change, by cutting methane emissions, phasing out coal consumption and protecting forests.

The framework agreement was announced by U.S. climate envoy John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua:

“First, this declaration includes strong statements about the alarming science, the emissions gap and the urgent need to accelerate the action to close that gap. This is critical... Second, it commits to a series of important actions not in the long term, not way out in the future, but now, now during this decade when it's needed.”

Speaking through an interpreter, Xie told reporters that the deal would see China strengthen its emissions-cutting targets and develop a national plan on methane.

It was billed by both as a way to tip the U.N. Climate summit toward success…

A first draft of the COP26 agreement, released earlier in the day, received a mixed response from climate activists and experts.

Almost 200 countries present in Glasgow have until the close of the two-week meeting on Friday to agree to the final text.

The overarching goal of the conference is to keep alive hopes of capping global temperatures at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, which is far out of reach on the basis of countries' current emissions cutting pledges..

The EU climate policy chief told Reuters the U.S.-China agreement gave room for hope… ADDING QUOTE…

"It's really encouraging to see that those countries that were at odds in so many areas have found common ground on what is the biggest challenge humanity faces today."

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