China and the United States Agree to Work Together to Tackle Climate Change

, China and the United States Agree to Work Together to Tackle Climate Change, The Evepost Huff News
, China and the United States Agree to Work Together to Tackle Climate Change, The Evepost Huff News

Scientists have said that nations need to cut global emissions from fossil fuels roughly in half this decade to keep average global temperatures from rising beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, compared with preindustrial levels. Beyond that threshold, the risks of deadly heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods and species extinction grow considerably. The planet has already warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius.

Negotiators here from nearly 200 countries are likely to demand significant changes to the draft as the talks enter their last, most difficult stretch. By tradition, a new global agreement requires every party to sign on. If any one nation objects, talks can deadlock.

The British prime minister, Boris Johnson, returned to Glasgow on Wednesday to urge countries to set aside differences and strike a deal. “The world has heard leaders from every country stand here and acknowledge the need for action,” he said. “And the world will find it absolutely incomprehensible if we fail to deliver that.”

But persuading nations around the world, many of which depend on fossil fuels for energy and have their own internal politics and vested interests, to move in a new direction is a herculean challenge.

, China and the United States Agree to Work Together to Tackle Climate Change, The Evepost Huff News

Mr. Kerry said countries had no choice but to work together. “This is not a discretionary thing,” he said. “This is science, it’s math and physics that dictate the road we have to travel. And we cannot reach our goal unless everyone works together.”

Several experts said the joint pact between China and the United States fell short of a 2014 deal between the United States and China to jointly curb emissions, which helped spur the Paris climate agreement among nearly 200 nations a year later.

“While this is not a game changer in the way the 2014 U.S.-China climate deal was, in many ways it’s just as much of a step forward given the geopolitical state of the relationship,” said Thom Woodroofe, a former climate diplomat and a fellow at the Asia Society Policy Institute working on United States-China climate cooperation. “It means the intense level of U.S.-China dialogue on climate can now begin to translate into cooperation.”