The chill in ties between China and the United States means any contact takes on special significance. An agreement to cooperate on climate change announced in a joint statement at the weekend after a meeting in Shanghai of the nations’ representatives on the issue proves that despite icy relations, there is still a willingness to work together on matters of shared interest. At a time when it is apparent US President Joe Biden is continuing and perhaps even toughening the hard line towards Beijing taken by his predecessor, Donald Trump, the deal is a positive sign. Collaboration on mutual concerns is a starting point from which understanding can be gradually built to tackle impediments in the relationship. Greening the dragon: China’s climate change journey from denial to decarbonisation Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, was the first member of his administration to travel to China since he took office three months ago. There could perhaps be no better person for such a mission; Kerry is a former US secretary of state. His meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, was equally meaningful for the task at hand as both had helped negotiate their countries’ joining of the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2015. With China and the US together accounting for almost half of the global greenhouse gas emissions behind rising temperatures, a deal, no matter on what scale, is welcome. Fortunately, President Xi Jinping and Biden are committed to action to reduce fossil fuel use to keep temperatures in check. The American leader’s first action on entering the White House was to rejoin the Paris accord, which Trump had pulled the US out of. US and China pledge to work together on climate change after John Kerry visit Biden has organised a video summit this week of government heads on the issue, which Xi is expected to participate in. Xie and Kerry said in their statement that their governments were “committed to cooperating with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis”. Climate change is a global threat to future development and growth, and American and Chinese coordination is crucial to attaining the world’s goals. The agreement struck in Shanghai is an important part of that process. But it also represents proof that China and the US, despite relations having soured to their worst in decades, are able to set aside differences and work for the common good.