United States-China Cooperation

Taking Stronger Action on Climate Change: China and the United States

Key Questions:

  • Q: What did the U.S. and China pledge in their November 11, 2014 joint announcement on climate change?
  • Q: Is it true that under its new pledges, China might avoid doing anything to address climate change until 2030?
    A: No. China will need to take stronger near-term action to meet its commitments and has begun to do so.
  • Q: Is China starting from scratch in trying to fulfill its pledges, or has it already taken steps in this direction?
    A: China is already taking action on multiple fronts to address the climate problem.
  • Q: Do we have reason to believe that China will follow through on its pledges?
    A: Yes. China has already made progress on the low carbon building blocks and has strong reasons of national interest to build on its current efforts.
  • Q: Does it make sense for the U.S. to pursue vigorous action on climate change given China’s commitments?
    A: Yes. China is now at a turning point regarding air quality and climate action, and the two countries can inspire each other and the world to take ambitious steps.

Hank Paulson: A Time of Leadership on Climate Change

US and China Strike Deal on Climate Change -- "Now You're Talking"

This post originally appeared on WRI’s Insights blog:

The American expression “now you’re talking,” actually means “now you’re getting real.” Getting real on steps to confront climate change means moving from talking to action—big action.

And that’s the signal out of Beijing from yesterday’s summit between President Obama and President Xi Jinping. President Obama pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. President Xi announced targets to peak carbon dioxide emissions around 2030—with the intention to peak sooner—and to increase China’s non-fossil fuel share of energy to around 20 percent by 2030. Next steps will be important, but this accord signals a significant move forward for climate action—in the United States, in China, and internationally.

Press Call on U.S.-China Climate Discussions

When President Obama and President Xi Jinping meet next week in Beijing, climate change and energy will be important topics of discussion. As the world’s two biggest emitters, leadership by the U.S. and China is critical as each country’s actions are closely watched by the other and the international community. In addition, interest was heightened when a senior Chinese official talked about the possibility of peak emissions in China at the UN Climate Summit in September.

China’s “New Long March” through the UN Climate Summit: Context and Opportunities

This post originally appeared on WRI’s Insights blog:

The Long March was a watershed moment in Chinese history—the moment Mao Zedong’s nascent Communist Party escaped disaster in 1934 en route to forming a new nation. Fast forward 80 years, and China is poised to embark on a new Long March – but this time away from climate change and environmental damage toward a sustainable future.

U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue Announcements on Climate Change and Low-Carbon Technology

Cooperation on climate change and air pollution were important themes of this week’s U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue held in Beijing, an annual meeting among high-level diplomats from both nations. The U.S. and Chinese representatives discussed their respective efforts to develop targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and announced a series of agreements under the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group.

Mackay Miller

Mackay Miller is a Senior Research Analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, USA, where he manages international collaborations with China, Mexico, India, and South Africa. His areas of focus include grid integration of renewable energy, smart grid deployment, and policy and regulatory issues across the clean energy spectrum. He coordinates several bilateral and multilateral initiatives including the US-China Renewable Energy Partnership and 21st Century Power Partnership. He also leads NREL support for the International Smart Grid Action Network and coordinates the Clean Energy Regulators Initiative. His recent publications include “Flexibility in 21st Century Power Systems,” “Market Evolution: Wholesale Electricity Market Design for 21st Century Power Systems” and “RES-E-NEXT: Next Generation RES-E Policy.” He holds an MBA from the University of Colorado, and a BA in International Relations from Brown University.

Contact Info: 

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Mackay.Miller@nrel.gov

303-384-7536

Valerie Karplus

Valerie J. Karplus is an Assistant Professor in the Global Economics and Management Group at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Director of the China Energy and Climate Project (CECP) at MIT.

Her research focuses on resource and environmental management in firms operating in diverse national and industry contexts, with an emphasis on emerging markets and the role of policy. Dr. Karplus is an expert on China’s energy system, including technology trends, energy system governance, and the sustainability impact of business decisions. She leads the China Energy and Climate Project at MIT, an international collaborative team of researchers principally from MIT and Tsinghua University focused on China’s role in global energy markets and climate change mitigation.

Dr. Karplus has previously worked in the development policy section of the German Federal Foreign Office in Berlin, Germany, as a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow, and in the biotechnology industry in Beijing, China, as a Luce Scholar and employee of the National Institute for Biological Sciences, Beijing.

She holds a BS in biochemistry and political science from Yale University and a PhD in engineering systems from MIT.

Contact Info: 

MIT Sloan School of Management

77 Massachusetts Ave.

Building E62-337

Cambridge, MA 02139

vkarplus@mit.edu

Phone: +1 (617) 452-3582

Fax: +1 (617) 253-9845

5 ChinaFAQs Experts Testify Before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

The purpose of this hearing was to examine China’s domestic and international clean energy policies, as well as the state of U.S.-China cooperation on clean energy, in order to provide recommendations to Congress.

The following are short summaries and links to the testimony of the five ChinaFAQs experts:

How U.S.-China Cooperation Can Expand Clean Energy Development

This post originally appeared on WRI’s Insights blog:

One year ago, the United States and China declared in their Joint Statement on Climate Change that “forceful, nationally appropriate action by the United States and China—including large-scale cooperative action—is more critical than ever. Such action is crucial both to contain climate change and to set the kind of powerful example that can inspire the world.”