US-China climate deal offers hope but meaningful thaw in relations remains elusive

Surprise agreement at Cop26 is a pragmatic manoeuvre by the superpowers, but their icy relationship will not defrost anytime soon, writes Ahmed Aboudouh

Thursday 11 November 2021 16:53
<p>US climate envoy John Kerry speaks at Cop26 </p>

US climate envoy John Kerry speaks at Cop26

When US climate envoy John Kerry made his second visit to China in September, he was given the cold shoulder. Some observers even went far as to say that the Taliban received a better reception in the country earlier this year.

Kerry was only offered virtual meetings with Chinese officials, who made it clear that cooperation on climate change would not happen if the US didn’t tame its hostility following scrutiny from Washington over China’s military harassment of Taiwan, clampdown on democracy in Hong Kong, and persecution of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.

Yet on Wednesday, China and the US signed a joint declaration at the Cop26 summit to accelerate measures to tackle the climate crisis - an unexpected announcement that caught the world off-guard.

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