China and the U.S., the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, reached a new climate agreement late Tuesday that includes an effort to replace fossil fuels with renewables.
The agreement says that both countries plan to speed up renewable development over the next seven years in order to “accelerate the substitution for coal, oil and gas generation.”
The two parties therefore anticipate their power sector emissions peaking this decade.
The Group of 20, of which the U.S. and China are both part, said earlier in the year that it would hope to see renewable energy tripled globally by 2030, but that language did not explicitly highlight renwables as a replacement for fossil fuels and did not mention oil or natural gas.
The agreement comes ahead of a meeting on Wednesday between President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the first time the leaders are speaking face-to-face in almost a year amid tensions on a range of issues.
Both countries also agreed to advance five large-scale projects that aim to capture and store carbon that would otherwise be emitted by power plants or other large pollution sources by 2030. Carbon capture is controversial in the U.S., with some opponents arguing that it extends the life of fossil fuels when they prefer a shift toward renewables and express fears about safety issues related to carbon pipelines.
Washington and Beijing also agreed to work together on reducing emissions of methane, nitrous oxide and hydrofluorocarbons — greenhouse gases that are less common but more potent than carbon dioxide.
They also said that they would advance efforts to halt and reverse forest loss by 2030.
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