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Big two must set example of cooperation in climate combat

China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-05 06:55

Participants walk past banners at the COP28 United Nations climate summit in Dubai on Sunday. GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP

The ongoing 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, brought more than 70,000 participants, including political leaders, climate negotiators and entrepreneurs from 167 countries together, making it the largest-ever UN conference on climate change.

The unprecedented attention the world is paying to COP28 is inseparable from the increasingly grave global climate crisis, as indicated by the rapid rate at which the global average temperature has been rising in recent years. Drastic changes in global climate have led to frequent natural disasters around the world, highlighting the urgency for all countries to deepen climate cooperation.

The Paris Agreement reached in 2015 set a goal of limiting global warming to under 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels this century, and all subsequent UN climate change conferences have focused on how to implement it. However, progress has not been satisfactory. As the deepening climate crisis has alerted all countries to the urgency of implementing the Paris Agreement, COP28 will offer stakeholders an important opportunity to take stock of the overall implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Behind the slow progress of global climate governance is the difficulty in building consensus. The majority of developing countries advocate "common but differentiated responsibilities", asking developed countries to take the lead in reducing emissions and in providing financial and technical support to developing countries, thus assuming due responsibility for carbon emissions in the past. However, developed countries led by the United States emphasize the "commonality" of each country's responsibility, putting developed and developing countries under the same emissions reduction standards.

As the world's largest developing and developed country, dialogue and cooperation between China and the US are crucial for the smooth progress of global climate governance. Unfortunately, with the intensification of the game between China and the US in recent years, climate dialogue between the two even came to a halt.

The renewed climate cooperation between China and the US after a recent meeting between their leaders in San Francisco has, therefore, raised expectations for COP28. A series of consensuses reached between the two countries before COP28 indicates that the conference may achieve some important results.

There is no time to waste in solving the dilemma of global climate governance. As the world's two largest economies, and the largest energy consumers and carbon emitters, China and the US should set an example for the world by promoting climate cooperation.

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