China and the United States have agreed to resume stalled cooperation on the climate crisis, curbing methane and plastic pollution before this month’s crucial COP28 UN climate summit held in Dubai.
Wednesday’s announcement follows a meeting between US climate envoy John Kerry and Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua earlier this month at the Sunnylands resort in California.
Following a pause driven by political differences, the world’s biggest polluters on pledged to establish a bilateral working group on climate action and ensure the success of COP28.
“The United States and China recognize that the climate crisis has increasingly affected countries around the world,” a joint statement said on Wednesday.
The countries declared their intention to “work together … to rise up to one of the greatest challenges of our time for present and future generations of humankind”.
The United States and China said they support a declaration by G20 leaders to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030 and also agreed to “accelerate the substitution for coal, oil and gas generation”.
The joint statement said they anticipate “meaningful” reductions in emissions from the power sector this decade, but it fell short of calling for the phasing out of fossil fuels, a goal that China has described as “unrealistic”.
Both sides also agreed to include methane in their 2035 climate goals – the first time China has made such a pledge – and committed to advancing “at least five” large-scale cooperation projects in carbon capture, utilisation and storage by the end of the decade.
The cooperation was disrupted due to a hiatus triggered in 2022 by the visit of former House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, a self-governing island that China claims.