China and US make headway on joint climate action

Clare Saxon Ghauri
11 July 2013

NEW YORK: China and US announced fresh commitments to work together on tackling climate change, during bilateral talks held in Washington in the US this week.

During the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue, important new initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution were agreed between the two countries’ top officials.

The five announced initiatives are:

  • Installation of resilient smart grid systems, incorporating more renewable and clean energy.
  • Increasing carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCS), including implementing large-scale projects in both countries.
  • Reducing emissions from heavy-duty and other vehicles, including advancing comprehensive policies to cut CO2 and black carbon emissions through enhanced heavy-duty fuel efficiency standards, cleaner fuels and emissions control technologies.
  • Increasing energy efficiency in buildings, industry and transport, with the initial focus on buildings which will include the use of innovative financing models.
  • Improving greenhouse gas data collection and management.

While the agreed joint-efforts complement both countries’ domestic measures to lower emissions -- such as President Obama’s recently announced Climate Action Plan -- the US State Department has emphasized the importance of collaboration in its US-China talks Fact Sheet. It states: “Ambitious domestic and cooperative action by China and the United States is more critical than ever.”

The announcement took place one month after the US-China presidents’ summit in California, when the first climate cooperation agreement was made between the two countries, on phasing down harmful HFC gasesEvan Juska, Head of US Policy, The Climate Group had commented on this agreement: “Of all the bi-lateral agreements reached by the US and China on climate change in recent years, this one has the potential to be the most impactful. Using the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs could reduce global emissions significantly by mid-century. And a successful partnership between the US and China on HFCs could lead to further cooperation on other GHGs in the future.”

Plans for the agreed US-China climate action will be finalized by October, 2013, but you can read the full Working Group Report here.

Related news:

US and China reach historic agreement on HFCs

John Kerry stresses importance of international cooperation to tackle climate change during India visit

Global 2 degree target can be achieved with China's cooperation

China announces ten “tough measures” to combat atmospheric pollution

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