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Climate change

John Kerry optimistic about China's 'strong' language on climate crisis following talks

It's rare that China and the United States are on the same page these days, but it appears the two powers made some progress when it comes to addressing climate change this past week.

In a joint statement on Sunday, Washington and Beijing announced they have agreed to cooperate with each other and other countries to "tackle the climate crisis." They will keep discussing "concrete actions in the 2020s to reduce emissions aimed at keeping the Paris Agreement-aligned temperature limits within reach."

Prior to the release of the statement, John Kerry, the Biden administration's climate envoy, traveled to Shanghai last week to meet with his Beijing counterpart, Xie Zhenhua. Kerry said Sunday that his discussions were productive, noting that "this is the first time China has joined in" calling climate change a "crisis." He also expressed optimism about the Chinese delegation saying the issue must be met with "urgency" and the fact that they talked about "enhancing" their emissions reduction goals. The language, at least, is "strong," Kerry said.

Li Shuo, the senior climate adviser for Greenpeace, said the joint statement "is as positive as the politics would allow," given that before its release the message of cooperation between the two countries was not one "we could assume."

President Biden will host a virtual climate change summit this week, with many world leaders expected to attend. Chinese President Xi Jinping has not formally confirmed his participation, but people familiar with the matter said he'll be there, The Wall Street Journal reports. Read more at The Wall Street Journal and Reuters.