The United States and China, the world’s two largest climate polluters, have agreed to jointly tackle global warming by ramping up wind, solar and other renewable energy with the goal of displacing fossil fuels, the State Department said Tuesday.
The announcement comes as President Biden prepares to meet Wednesday with President Xi Jinping of China for their first face-to-face discussion in a year. The climate agreement could emerge as a bright spot in talks that are likely to focus on sensitive topics including Taiwan, the war in Ukraine and the war between Israel and Hamas.
The statements of cooperation released separately by the United States and China do not include a promise by China to phase out its heavy use of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, or to stop permitting and building new coal plants. That has been a sticking point for the United States in months of discussions with Beijing on climate change.
But both countries agreed to “pursue efforts to triple renewable energy capacity globally by 2030.” That growth should reach levels high enough “so as to accelerate the substitution for coal, oil and gas generation,” the agreement says. Both countries anticipate “meaningful absolute power sector emission reduction” in this decade, it says. That appears to be the first time China has agreed to cut emissions in any part of its economy.
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