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US, China promise improved co-operation on combatting climate change, steps to curb emissions

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BEIJING, China - The United States and China promised Saturday to co-operate more closely in combatting climate change following a visit to Beijing by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

In a joint statement, the two governments said they have agreed on steps to carry out commitments to curb output of greenhouse gases that trap solar heat in the atmosphere. Those include reducing vehicle emissions, improving energy efficiency of buildings and other measures.

China and the United States are the biggest sources of emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that cause the atmosphere to trap solar heat and alter the climate. Scientists warn such changes will lead to drought and other extreme weather conditions.

The two governments will "contribute significantly to successful 2015 global efforts to meet this challenge," the statement said.

It cited the "overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change and its worsening impacts, and the related issue of air pollution from burning fossil fuels," and said the two countries recognize the urgent need for action.

Beijing and Washington launched the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group last year. They promised progress in five areas — reducing vehicle emissions, advanced electric power grids, capturing and storing carbon emissions, gather greenhouse gas data and building efficiency.

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