/ 12 November 2021

Coming together for climate’s sake

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THE SQUIZ
In a surprise development, the US and China have agreed to work together to slow global warming during this decade. They are the 2 biggest emitters of greenhouse gases globally, and COP26 conference-watchers say the joint declaration could be significant in the drive to limit global warming to 1.5C by the end of the century. How is it going to work? Well, the deal has its sceptics because there are no deadlines or specific commitments to further emissions reductions… But the superpowers say they will jointly “raise ambition in the 2020s” and boost clean energy, combat deforestation, and curb methane emissions.

BUT DON’T THEY HATE EACH OTHER’S GUTS?
Fair question. On this issue, China’s top climate negotiator Xie Zhenhua said “there is more agreement between China and US than divergence”. And John Kerry, the US climate envoy, said the nations “have no shortage of differences, but on climate, co-operation is the only way to get this job done”. And it didn’t happen overnight… Officials have held more than 30 meetings this year to talk it through. Xie said it was the right thing to do because the nations have a “special obligation to work together on keeping the world a peaceful and sustainable place.” Rumours that the men broke into a rendition of Plastic Ono Band’s Give Peace a Chance to seal the deal are unconfirmed…

ARE YOU REALLY SURE THEY DON’T HATE EACH OTHER’S GUTS?
Yeah, you’re right to ask again particularly after President Xi Jinping (who cemented his position as China’s forever leader yesterday) returned to the America v China theme. He said that the “Asia-Pacific region cannot and should not relapse into the confrontation and division of the Cold War era.” On the other side, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that the “US is a resident power in the Indo-Pacific” and it’s “not going anywhere”. That will all make for an interesting conversation when Xi and US President Joe Biden meet virtually early next week – and they will come across each other at today’s virtual APEC leaders’ summit. It focuses on the region’s economic recovery from COVID, easing the supply chain chaos, and funny shirts

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