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United States, China agree to work together to combat climate change

Following two days of meetings between U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and China Special Envoy for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua in Shanghai, the United States and China reached an agreement to work together to combat climate change and uphold their commitments to international climate deals. File Photo by Stefani Reynolds/UPI
Following two days of meetings between U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and China Special Envoy for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua in Shanghai, the United States and China reached an agreement to work together to combat climate change and uphold their commitments to international climate deals. File Photo by Stefani Reynolds/UPI | License Photo

April 18 (UPI) -- The United States and China agreed to work together to combat climate change after meetings in Shanghai over the weekend.

In a joint statement released late Saturday, the nations said the climate crisis "must be addressed with the seriousness and urgency that it demands" and they will work with other nations to uphold and increase their commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.

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"The United States and China will continue to discuss, both on the road to COP 26 and beyond concrete actions in the 2020s to reduce emissions aimed at keeping the Paris Agreement aligned temperature limit within reach," the statement said.

The agreement came after two days of meetings between U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and China Special Envoy for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua in Shangai on Thursday and Friday.

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In a separate statement, China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment said the talks had been "candid, in-depth and constructive."

"Both sides recognize that climate change is a serious and urgent threat to the survival and development of mankind," the ministry said.

The ministry said the two countries will also "further strengthen exchanges and cooperation in areas such as strengthening policy measures, promoting green and low-carbon transitions and supporting the energy and low-carbon development of developing countries."

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Kerry in an interview Sunday said that the talks were focused on climate change despite ongoing disputes between the United States and China over Hong Kong's autonomy and human rights violations against China's Uighur Muslim population.

"It's very important for us to try to keep those other things away, because climate is a life-or-death issue in so many different parts of the world," Kerry said.

Shortly after taking office, U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order mandating that the United States rejoin the Paris Agreement, after his predecessor Donald Trump had withdrawn from the deal on climate change.

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Kerry said Sunday that the United States must ensure that it and other nations follow through on their commitments.

"We've seen commitments before where everybody falls short," he said. "I mean, frankly, we're all falling short. The entire world right now is falling short. This is not a finger-pointing exercise of one nation alone."

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