China and the United States will set up a working group on climate cooperation, the two countries announced on Wednesday, just weeks before the international climate conference (COP28).
The task force will focus on “energy transition, methane, circular economy and resource efficiency, low-carbon and sustainable provinces/states and cities, and deforestation,” Chinese state media and the U.S. State Department said in a joint statement. The members of the group will conduct “dialogue and cooperation to accelerate concrete climate action,” according to the text.
The joint statement follows talks between Chinese and US climate envoys Xie Zhenhua and John Kerry, held from 4 to 7 November in California, USA. The two sides agreed to “work together and with other parties” to “address one of the greatest challenges of our time for current and future generations of humanity,” according to their statement. They will also relaunch “bilateral dialogues on energy policies and strategies” and “deepen policy exchanges on energy-saving and carbon-reducing solutions”.
Methane also discussed
The U.S. and China also pledged to “immediately begin technical cooperation” on reducing methane emissions, of which China is the world’s largest emitter. Last week, Beijing unveiled a major programme to control its emissions of this greenhouse gas, but did not propose a specific reduction target. In their joint statement, the two sides agreed to “develop their respective methane reduction actions/targets”, which will be included in their 2035 emission reduction plans – known as “Nationally Determined Contributions” (NDCs).
The 28th United Nations Climate Conference (COP28) will be held from 30 November to 12 December in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Cooperation between China and the United States is often seen as crucial to giving impetus to climate negotiations.