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Surprise US-China climate deal breaks through superpower standoff

The world's two largest carbon polluters found common ground Wednesday this week at the UN summit in Glasgow, issuing a joint statement about improving climate cooperation on several key areas, with diplomatic ties between the two geopolitical rivals also improved to underpin their "concrete" environmental efforts looking forward.

Special US envoy to COP26 John Kerry acknowledges that China and the US have their difference but says the two counties are obligated to work together on climate concerns. | Photo: POOL/REUTERS / X80003

China and the US vowed to work together to slow global warming, issuing a surprise joint statement Wednesday that injects new momentum into the last days of global climate negotiations. The deal also marks a rare moment of cooperation between superpowers locked in geopolitical rivalry and which seemed at odds for most of the two-week talks in Glasgow, Scotland.

The two sides agreed to boost their efforts to cut emissions, including by tackling methane and illegal deforestation, China’s special climate envoy Xie Zhenhua told reporters. They will establish a working group to increase action in the 2020s — a key decade — which will meet in the first half of next year. His US counterpart John Kerry said that the group will focus on "concrete" measures.

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