COP26: surprise agreement between China and the United States in Glasgow: China and the United States, the world’s two biggest polluters, announced in a joint statement Wednesday an agreement at the COP 26, s’ committing to strengthen their efforts in the fight against global warming. “An important step in the right direction” for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Washington and Beijing created a surprise. The two countries, the world’s leading emitters of greenhouse gases, announced on Wednesday November at the COP an agreement, reviving hopes two days before the end of this crucial climate conference.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, host of the Glasgow conference, had barely appealed for a “strong impetus” in the talks, assuring that there would be “no excuses” for failing, when Beijing and Washington announced a “joint statement on the strengthening climate action “.

” This document contains strong statements on the alarming studies of scientists, the reduction of carbon emissions, and the urgent need to accelerate actions to achieve, “US Special Envoy John Kerry told reporters. “He is committing to a series of important actions over this decade, when they are needed,” he added.

“We can all embark on the path of ‘green, low-carbon and sustainable development,’ said Chinese President Xi Jinping during a virtual conference Thursday on the sidelines of the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC), without explicitly mention this agreement.

In their joint declaration, the two main world powers, whose rivalry had seemed in recent months to spill over into the field of climate diplomacy, pledge to do more to fight against global warming, the consequences of which are increasingly felt across the world: droughts, floods, mega-fire, with their growing procession of victims and damage.

They promise, without very precise details, to “take reinforced measures to raise ambitions over the years 2020”, reaffirming their attachment to the objectives of the Paris agreement, a limited warming “well below” of 2 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era, and if possible at 1.5 ° C.

But the world is still according to the UN on a “catastrophic” trajectory of warming of 2.7 ° C, and the COP 10 is considered crucial to put the climate fight back on the rails.

Beijing and Washington are also committed to working in Glasgow for “an ambitious, balanced and inclusive outcome on mitigation (lower emissions), adaptation and support” financial support to poor countries.

Mixed reactions An agreement hailed as “an important step in the right direction” by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres.

Beyond the COP, it is important for the world”, for his part declared to AFP the vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans.

Early Wednesday, after ten days of discussions, the British presidency of the COP issued a first draft of the final declaration calling for strengthen and accelerate the pace of climate commitments by all countries to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

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This text has provoked mixed reactions, especially from poor countries, who insist that the richest keep their aid promise.

The project, which will still be the subject of negotiations and may change by the end of the COP (Conference of the Parties to the UN Climate Convention), which is due to end on Friday but which can also be extended, calls on countries to “revise and strengthen” from 2022 national contributions (NDC) which set their commitments ts in the short term.

COP26 surprise agreement between China and the United States in Glasgow

The Paris agreement of 2015 requires their review every five years, but many countries were more frequently.

The project also encourages countries to “accelerate the phase-out of coal and fossil fuel financing”.

A such explicit mention of fossil fuels, responsible for most emissions, is unprecedented, and does not appear in the Paris agreement in particular. But it promises to be bitterly contested until the conclusion of the final text, in particular by the producing countries.

On the burning issue of financing, the text “notes with regret” the failure developed countries to keep their promise to mobilize from 2020 some 100 billions of dollars per year climate aid to poor countries.

Often the least polluting, they are also the most exposed to the ravages of climate change, as recalled by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the archipelago of Tuvalu, telling COP delegates “We are sinking”, in a video filmed standing up to mid-thigh in the ocean.

Far from the targets ” The text does not put forward any concrete solution on financing, but calls for the strengthening of” adaptation “measures to the effects of climate change.

Adaptation currently only represents about a quarter of this aid, compared to 75% devoted to reducing emissions. Poor countries claim at least parity.

Regarding the other very controversial issue of “loss and damage” already suffered by the most exposed countries, the text “recognizes” the problem and its “emergency”. But there again without concrete modalities of action.

The negotiating groups of the poor and emerging countries expressed almost unanimous concern during a meeting organized to gather the first reactions to the project. On the science side, Joeri Rogelj, member of the UN group of experts on the climate, welcomed “progress”, but noted that the commitments were for the moment “far from the objectives of the agreement de Paris “.

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