Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development

U.S. and China pledge to work together to fight climate crisis (interview)

November 11, 2021

TRT World Now– In light of the U.S.-China Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s announced in the final days of COP26, IGSD President Durwood Zaelke answers the questions “How significant is it that we have the world’s top two polluters agreeing to work together?” “Is there concern that they actually will be able to work together to achieve these goals?” And, “do you see that this climate summit has been a success now?”

“This is a tremendous breakthrough… [The U.S. and China] recognize that if they were to announce this double-barreled approach to reduce CO2 and non-CO2 methane and other gasses, it would change the entire tenure for climate policy.”

 “[This partnership] follows what [the U.S. and China] have done in the Montreal Protocol, the world’s best environmental treaty. The one that solved the first great threat to the global atmosphere from CFCs and other fluorinated gasses that destroyed the ozone layer, and the first treaty that has done more for climate than any other treaty. They cooperated on that for the past 33 years, including the week just before COP26 started.”

“I think it is a success in the sense that it has redefined climate policy. 1.5°C is now absolutely the goal…the world finally understands that… They also understand that 2050 is not our goal, it is 2030, if not sooner. We need fast action this decisive decade. Then another thing that has happened is that the non-CO2 climate pollutants, methane in particular, have come to the fore. It is very clear from the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C…that we can’t have a chance of keeping to the 1.5°C target unless we take methane out of the equation.”  

“This is finally an architecture that is aimed in the right direction with the two biggest polluters cooperating. So, I would say it is a good couple of weeks. It is not going to satisfy everyone and it shouldn’t. We need the young people to maintain their anger and their demands because there is so much more to do to make sure this and other agreements are implemented and secured in good faith as fast as possible.” 

– Durwood Zaelke, IGSD President