This week, the United States and China took important steps to advance their cooperation to combat global climate change and work towards the common goal of low carbon economic growth.
On July 9, at the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, and their Chinese counterparts State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Vice Premier Wang Yang chaired a special Joint Session on Climate Change to review and strengthen efforts to tackle climate change and air pollution in both countries.
Recognizing the urgent need to cooperate to decrease carbon pollution and protect carbon sinks, Secretary Kerry and State Councilor Yang Jiechi announced progress made through the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group, in particular the launching of eight demonstration projects – four on carbon capture, utilization, and storage, and four on smart grids. They also agreed to adopt stronger heavy and light duty vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards, conduct a study on the efficiency and use of gas in industrial boilers, and took the important step of launching a new initiative on climate change and forests, adding a significant new sector to U.S.-China climate change cooperation - greenhouse gas emissions from the land sector which account for one quarter of global emissions.
Established during Secretary Kerry’s first trip to Beijing in April 2013, the 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.
On July 8th, the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group also held a special event in Beijing to celebrate the achievements of private sector partnerships to advance carbon capture, use, and storage and develop green data centers, reduce hyrdofluorocarbons (HFCs) from refrigeration and air conditioning, and promote "green cement", a process which uses a mixture of ingredients that release fewer emissions during production. These achievements underscore the critical role of the private sector and other non-governmental actors to test and deploy innovative solutions to climate change and other pressing global challenges.
U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern and National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua also chaired a full-day enhanced policy dialogue on July 8, 2014 with the aim of coordinating efforts to reach an ambitious global climate change agreement in 2015. Further, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to implement President Obama and Chinese President Xi’s agreement last year to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs.