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ChinaFAQs expert Dan Kammen describes the implications of the U.S.-China climate accord for the international climate negotiations and for each country. Kammen emphasizes the necessity of clean technologies for China’s continued economic growth, and recommends that both countries pursue innovation regarding their electrical grids and scale up regional carbon pricing policies.
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U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz recently announced plans for a Business Development Mission to China in April, intended to promote U.S. companies’ business in clean energy in China and to bolster U.S.-China clean energy collaboration. The delegation will include representatives from U.S. industries advancing “Smart Cities” and “Smart Growth”.
- 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.
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.
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.