At the opening of the 2013 Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the United States and China announced agreement to five new “action initiatives” for collaboration on addressing climate change. Today’s announcement follows the formation of the Joint U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group in April and the subsequent agreement on HFCs between President Obama and President Xi in June. It also follows President Obama’s announcement of a national climate plan for the United States.
The U.S. and China have selected areas where, if “large scale cooperative action” is implemented, there is an opportunity to make a real difference. As Secretary of State John Kerry and State Councilor Yang Jiechi said, these are the types of action that can “inspire the world.”
Following is a statement by Jennifer Morgan, Director, Climate and Energy Program, World Resources Institute:
“There is renewed momentum between the U.S. and China on climate change. Bilateral efforts between these two countries are essential – and this collaboration can inject additional vigor in tackling climate change around the world.
“This is welcome leadership by Secretary Kerry and Councilor Yang, who have put climate change at the top of the international agenda. These actions can help build trust and enhance cooperation between these two major countries. The benefits of joint action are clear. Now, we need them to follow-up with actions that will drive down global emissions and take advantage of economic opportunities in a low-carbon future.”
With respect to the five new action initiatives:
Addressing emissions from heavy duty vehicles can cut not only climate pollution, but also greatly improve local air quality in the U.S. and China, where air pollution has reached crisis proportions, all while driving down transportation costs in both countries.
Working towards commercial scale deployment of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) could play a significant role in reducing carbon pollution in both countries, while engaging private industry and creating business opportunities.
Addressing building efficiency can address about a third of energy usage in both countries, and there is plenty room for improvement.
Working on improving greenhouse gas data collection is an essential foundation to build trust and make progress addressing climate change.
Finally, smart grids will be a pivotal technology for the shift to low carbon, and an important area for collaboration in both countries.