Unexpected Agreement! The US and China Are Discussing Cutting Carbon Emissions Together

Unexpected Agreement! The US and China Are Discussing Cutting Carbon Emissions Together

File:President of the United States Joe Biden (2021).jpg - Wikimedia Commons

by Lucy Thomson & Abi Gebbie





What we know so far

On Wednesday, the US and China made a pledge. These rival countries are the world’s biggest CO2 emitters and they stated that they would work together in order to achieve the 1.5°C goal. This goal was set during the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Joe Biden, the US President, and Xi Jinping, the Chinese President, are set to have a meeting as soon as next week. According to China’s climate representative, they came to an agreement after 30 meetings with the US over 10 months. The agreement pledges cooperation with cutting emissions and it has also been stated that a group will be selected to discuss climate change regularly over the next decade.

Why is this agreement so unexpected?

One reason this is shocking is the fact that Xi Jinping was supposed to attend the COP26 conference. However, it was announced that he was not attending and he faced major backlash from the world as a result of this decision. It is important that we take Covid-19 regulations into consideration as this is a possible reason as to why he has not attended the conference. It could also be argued that many other countries have managed to attended the conference despite this, so it is reasonable to question the Chinese leader’s absence.

Another reason this agreement is so unexpected is due to the US and China’s rivalry. It’s hard to imagine two countries who could have more tension discussing a deal like this one however, the fact that these two rival countries are willing to put their differences apart so that they can work together to discuss climate change shows that positive change is happening. It also tells us that the US and China are both aware of the extremely harmful impact that their counties are having on the world and our chances to limit climate damage.

File:Xi Jinping, BRICS summit 2015 01.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

What is good about the agreement?

The USA and China are the two countries that release the most carbon dioxide, with China
releasing 11535 megatonnes of carbon dioxide per year and the USA releasing 5107
megatonnes of carbon dioxide per year. This has very serious implications on the
environment. Carbon dioxide emissions are the biggest cause of global warming and the
USA and China are big culprits when it comes to releasing the gas. China is contributing the
most when it comes to releasing carbon dioxide and this is due to the increase of coal fired power plants.

The USA also uses a lot of fossil fuels. This is typically used for electricity, heat and transport. Both countries are aiming to at least do something, with China aiming for carbon neutrality by 2060 and the USA aiming to be net-zero by 2050. Having this agreement in place is a brilliant start as this allows the USA and China to hold themselves accountable for the damage they have already caused to the environment. If both countries are able to cut emissions now, this would have such a positive impact not only on the environment but the future too.

Will this actually work?

Well, it is uncertain if this agreement will actually work out and go the way it’s supposed to
go. There may be an agreement in place, it doesn’t necessarily mean that both
countries are going to stick to it and put the agreement into action. There is no
promise it will work, but there is hope! This has also not been confirmed to happen yet but
there will be another meeting with the two nations next week to discuss further and put plans into action. Obviously, this would be an amazing thing that would really aid in preventing the climate change crisis.






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