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Concerted efforts needed to tackle climate change: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2021-01-25 22:32
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US President Joe Biden certainly deserves praise for rejoining the Paris Agreement on climate agreement — which his predecessor withdrew from — immediately after being inaugurated as the leader of the United States. Now he is reportedly going to unveil executive orders on Wednesday to combat climate change at home and elevate the issue as a national security priority in moves described as "the vision of the future" by Gina McCarthy, the White House's national climate adviser.

Although the details have not been released, the executive orders are expected to roll back the previous administration's policies that aimed to maximize the US output and exports of oil, gas and coal. Given that the US is the largest producer of greenhouse gases on a per capita basis, and that the former US administration under Donald Trump rolled back more than 100 regulations on climate and the environment, which greatly worsened carbon pollution, rolling back Trump's rollbacks will significantly benefit the global fight against climate change.

It is one of the hardest tasks that Biden faces to right all the climate wrongs committed by the previous administration, and he will need to put in place the necessary personnel, budgets and policies as quickly as possible.

Thus it is a little perplexing that John Kerry, Biden's special climate envoy, while claiming that the United States had returned to the Paris Agreement with humility, told foreign ministers in Europe on Friday that the US administration has begun to "apply diplomatic pressure" on countries to work harder to curb emissions, especially China, whose ambitious plan to become "carbon neutral" before 2060, he called "not good enough".

Fortunately, China does not need to rely on the US to approve its green credentials. The progress it is making to help keep the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 C above pre-industrial levels has been acknowledged around the world. Inger Anderson, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, called the pledge "a big step forward for China and for the world".

Climate change poses a huge challenge to all. China, as the world's largest investor, producer and consumer of renewable energy, has already set a good example by delivering on its previous climate pledges.

As world leaders meet at the two-day Climate Adaptation Summit — an online event that starts on Monday to find ways to address climate challenge — they need to put aside their differences so they can agree on an action agenda and concrete proposals to build a climate-resilient planet.

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