US, China Agree To Work Together To ‘Strengthen’ Paris Agreement

(Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images)

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The United States and China agreed Friday to work together to “strengthen” the Paris Agreement and address climate change.

U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry met with his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua in Shanghai for two days of bilateral talks, according to the Saturday press release from the U.S. Department of State.

The two countries reaffirmed their commitment “to cooperating with each other” through the international processes, such as “the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement,” the release reads. Both countries committed to curbing “global average temperature increase to well below 2 degrees C” and phase down “hydrofluorocarbon production and consumption.”

Kerry has become the first official from President Joe Biden’s administration to visit China, which may signal the president’s readiness to cooperate with Beijing on climate change despite the mounting tensions on other fronts, according to AFP. (RELATED: FLASHBACK: Climate Czar John Kerry Said in 2009 That Arctic Summer Ice Would Disappear In 5 Years)

“China attaches importance to carrying out dialogue and cooperation on climate change with the U.S. side,” Vice Premier Han Zheng said, according to Xinhua. “China welcomes the U.S. return to the Paris agreement, and expects the U.S .side to uphold the agreement, shoulder its due responsibilities and make due contributions.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, however, took aim at the U.S. on Twitter following the bilateral talks.

“It is the US that announced exit from the Paris Agreement in 2017,” she wrote. “Its return is by no means a glorious comeback but rather a truant getting back to class.”

China’s greenhouse emissions are larger than those of the U.S. and European Union combined. Multiple studies have revealed that the country repeatedly failed to meet its own government regulations pertaining to coal mines.

China still attributes the central role for coal industries in its long-term economic vision, explicitly defying the Paris Agreement, according to Earth.