Takeaways from Wednesday at COP26: China and US surprise summit, negotiations heat up, car deal flops

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at a news conference at COP26 on Wednesday.

Glasgow, Scotland (CNN)Wednesday was big day at the COP26 climate summit, with the first draft of an overarching agreement released. The draft is a sort of a wish list put together by the COP presidency and its final version will be negotiated between national delegates over the next two days.

Depending on whom you ask, it's either "ambitious" or "a total flop."
The US and China also made a surprise pledge to work together on addressing the climate crisis.
    Here's what happened on Wednesday.

      China-US surprise

      The US and China announced an agreement Wednesday to ramp up their cooperative climate ambitions, just days before the end of the conference.
      "There is more agreement between the US and China than divergence, making it an area of huge potential for cooperation," China climate envoy Xie Zhenhua said at a news conference. "The release of this joint statement shows again that cooperation is the only choice for both China and the United States. By working together our two countries can achieve many important things that are beneficial not only to our two countries but the world as a whole."
        In a news conference immediately following Xie, US Special Climate Envoy John Kerry said he was "pleased" about the agreement between the two countries.
        Kerry said the US and China had two choices: they could either depart COP26 not working together and leaving "the world wondering where the future's going to be, clearly with a gap ... Or, we can leave here with people working together in order to raise the ambition and begin to move down a better road," Kerry said. "That's really the choice."

        Strong 1.5 commitment -- with little to back it up

        The draft agreement includes the strongest-ever language on the need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which would be a win for the COP26 presidency given that some of the world's biggest polluters have been, until recently, reluctant to commit to the goal.
        While analysts welcomed the language, many were quick to point out that the rest of the agreement doesn't actually deliver on the goal.
        Mark Maslin, a climate scientist at University College London told CNN the draft was "a bit wishy washy."
        "It acknowledges that there is a huge need to cut emissions as fast as possible by 2030 to be on target for 1.5 degrees temperature. However, later in the document, it asks countries to submit new sort of pledges, NDCs that are all aligned to keeping temperatures below two degrees. So the beginning and the end of the actual document don't match up," he said.

        Fossil fuel subsidies get a mention

        The draft agreement also asks governments to "accelerate the phasing-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels." This is an important first, as up until now, no COP agreement has ever mentioned fossil fuels specifically.
        "It's absurd that ... we are still paying taxpayer money in hundreds of billions of dollars a year to encourage production and consumption of fossil fuels," Alden Meyer, senior associate at E3G said in a briefing.
        "The first rule of holes is that when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. And we're still digging the hole deeper by paying people to pollute and to produce and use more carbon," Meyer said. "It's insane."
        But there's no guarantee the language around coal and fossil fuel subsidies will survive the next two days of negotiations.
        Meyer said he expects there to be "one hell of a fight" over this before a final text is agreed.
        "Saudi Arabia and other countries will come in and try and remove this paragraph," said Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International.

        Johnson pleads with delegates

        UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is back in Glasgow after spending the last week or so in London, trying to get his party's latest political scandal off the fron