The United States and China, the world’s two largest carbon polluters, have agreed to collaborate to curb climate change with urgency, only days before President Joe Biden hosts a virtual summit of world leaders to Go over the issue

SEOUL, South Korea — The United States and China, the world’s two biggest carbon polluters, agreed to collaborate to curb climate change with urgency, only days before President Joe Biden hosts a virtual summit of world leaders to talk about the issue.

The two nations”are committed to cooperating with one another and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis, which must be addressed with the seriousness and urgency that it needs,” the statement said.

China is the world’s largest carbon emitter, followed by america. The two countries pump out almost half of these fossil fuel fumes which are warming the planet’s atmosphere. Their cooperation is key to a success of international efforts to curb climate change, but frayed ties within human rights, trade and China’s territorial claims to Taiwan and the South China Sea are threatening to undermine these efforts.

Meeting with reporters in Seoul on Sunday,” Kerry said the language in the statement is”powerful” and the two nations agreed on”critical elements on where we now have to go.” But the former secretary of state said,”I learned from diplomacy that you don’t put your back on the words, you place on actions. We all need to see what happens.”

Noting that China is the world’s biggest coal user, Kerry said he and Chinese officials had a lot of discussions on how best to accelerate a worldwide energy transition. “I’ve never shied away from expressing our views shared by many, many individuals that it is vital to reduce coal, everywhere,” he explained.

The U.S. and other countries are expected to announce more ambitious national targets for cutting carbon emissions ahead of or at the meeting, together with pledging financial aid for climate efforts by less wealthy countries.

It’s uncertain how much Kerry’s China visit would promote U.S.-China cooperation on climate problems.

While Kerry was still in Shanghai, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng signaled Friday that China is not likely to make any fresh pledges at next week’s summit.

“For a large country with 1.4 billion people, these goals are not easily delivered,” Le said during an interview with The Associated Press in Beijing. “Some countries are requesting China to achieve the goals sooner. I’m afraid this is not very realistic.”

During a video interview with German and French leaders Friday, Xi said that climate change”should not become a geopolitical chip, a target for attacking other nations or an excuse for trade obstacles,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

On if Xi would join the summit, Le stated”the Chinese side will be actively studying the matter.”

The joint statement said the two nations”anticipate” next week’s summit. Kerry said Sunday that”we very much expect (Xi) will participate” in the summit but it’s up to China to make that decision.

Biden, who’s said that combating global warming is among his highest priorities, ” had the United States rejoin the historic 2015 Paris climate accord from the initial hours of his presidency, undoing the U.S. withdrawal ordered by predecessor Donald Trump.

Important emitters of greenhouse gases are preparing for another U.N. climate summit happening at Glasgow, U.K., in November. The summit aims to relaunch international attempts to maintain climbing global temperatures to below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) as agreed in the Paris accord.

As stated by the U.S.-China announcement, both countries would improve”their various activities and cooperating in multilateral processes, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.”

It said both nations also intend to develop their various long-term strategies ahead of the Glasgow convention and take”appropriate actions to optimize global finance and investment in support of” the energy transition in developing countries.

Xi declared last year that China will be carbon-neutral by 2060 and plans to reach a peak in its own emissions by 2030. In March, China’s Communist Party vowed to decrease carbon emissions per unit of economic output by 18% during the next five years, in line with its goal for its prior five-year period. However, environmentalists say China needs to do more.

Biden has vowed the U.S. will switch to an emissions-free power sector within 14 years, and have a completely emissions-free economy by 2050. Kerry is pushing other countries to commit to carbon neutrality by then.