US and China announce Climate Change Working Group

Clare Saxon Ghauri
16 April 2013

NEW YORK: The United States and China have signed an agreement on the creation of a Working Group that will enhance bi-lateral cooperation on climate change, ahead of the 2013 Strategic and Economic Dialogue which will take place in July. 

The two countries described their ‘more focused and urgent’ plans to address climate change as ‘more critical than ever’, in a bold joint statement where the two countries announced the initiation of the Climate Change Working Group

The Group will focus on finding ways to advance cooperation on clean technology, research, conservation and renewable energy that ‘promote economic prosperity and job creation while reducing greenhouse gas emissions’.

The Working Group will be headed by Todd Stern, US Special Envoy for Climate Change and Xie Zhenhua, Vice Chairman, the National Development and Reform Commission.

Amy Davidsen, US Executive Director, The Climate Group, said: “The recent disputes between the US and China over clean energy trade has reinforced the idea that the two countries must be strict competitors in the race to develop new clean energy technologies. But the truth is that cooperation is also needed for both countries to achieve their energy goals.

“The main concern about such partnerships is typically that they lead to jobs going overseas. But the fact is that clean energy partnerships between the US and China create jobs in both countries, due to the global nature of the clean energy supply chain.”

Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group, said: "It is very important to see that the two largest economies are looking for ways to join their efforts to address climate change, because collaboration will lead to a much bigger portion of the global effort we need towards the clean revolution. And I hope that both the US and China will also lead the journey towards a global deal leading up to 2015.

"While joint initiatives are to be developed to address mitigation, I hope that both parties will also pay more attention to adaptation issues. There is huge potential in this partnership to tackle adaption at the global level in political, technical and also financial aspects, in particular around climate-smart financing."

The US Secretary of State John Kerry was also progressing US climate collaboration in Asia yesterday, when he met Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo to discuss the countries' shared commitment to advancing action. The US press statement reads: ‘To further our shared goals, we will hold a new bilateral dialogue, based on three pillars of cooperation: a new, ambitious, global, post-2020 international agreement to combat climate change, cooperation to advance low-emissions development in the world, and cooperation on constructing climate-resilient societies.’

Our related reports:

Consensus and Cooperation for a Clean Revolution: China and global sustainable development

An American Clean Revolution: Why the US should play to win on the clean economy


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