China and US announce joint action on climate

10 July 2014

NEW YORK: China and the US have announced a series of pacts to cut greenhouse gas emissions signaling their joint commitment to tackling climate change in the run up to Paris 2015.

The deal which was struck during the US-China Strategic Economic Dialogue in Beijing, includes eight pacts to reduce emissions, and provides for greater knowledge sharing on their respective climate strategies.

In addition both countries have stated their desire to achieve low carbon economic growth, with the US noting The US-China Climate Change Working Group is taking “concrete steps to catalyze important, cooperative efforts by the United States and China to address climate change in key sectors across the economy”.

John Kerry, US Secretary of State, who played a leading role in the negotiations stressed the global impact of the new partnership: “The significance of these two nations coming together can’t be understated. We are working hard to find a solution together that can have an impact on the rest of the world.”

Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group, commented: "China and US continue their collaboration to decarbonize their economies. With the new pacts signed by both sides at the just concluded bilateral strategic and economic dialogue, it is expected that the word's two largest economies are better positioned to lead a global clean revolution." 

Both countries have made significant headway on mitigating global warming at the individual level, but by joining forces the two states can create a bi-lateral blueprint which other nations could adapt and develop, which is of critical importance given the looming global climate talks in Paris next year.

In the US President Obama has been increasingly proactive on climate over the last six months with the introduction of his Clean Power Plan, new energy efficiency standards as well as pledged solar energy support. In a candid interview on the documentary Years of Living Dangerously last month, the President emphasized his determination to safeguard the planet: “It’s frustrating when the science is in front of us. We can argue about how but let’s not argue about what’s going on.” 

Similarly, China’s eight Emissions Trading Scheme are considered to be a first step towards a national carbon market, and earlier this year Premier Li Keqiang famously declared a “war against pollution”.

As the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, the new collaboration has the potential to radically reduce global warming as it comes just over a year before international climate negotiations begin in Paris.

Ahead of Paris, this September political leaders from all over the world will gather in New York for the UN Climate Summit, which will pave the way for pledges at the 20th UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in Peru this December. Both conferences will be instrumental for achieving an ambitious deal at the Paris 2015 climate conference which marks the deadline for deadline for deciding the post 2020 framework.

By Alana Ryan

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