Saturday, February 15, 2014

US-China Joint Statement on Climate Change

Last year, the US and China established a joint climate change working group. Today, the parties reiterated their commitment to cooperating on reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and positively influencing global climate negotiations (see here). Although not long on specifics, the joint statement does list five specific initiatives:

  • Emission Reductions from Heavy Duty and Other Vehicles
  • Smart Grids
  • Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage
  • Collecting and Managing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data and Energy Efficiency in Buildings and Industry
  • and commit to devote significant effort and resources to secure concrete results by the Sixth U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in 2014.
In and of itself, this joint statement hardly represents a great leap forward on climate policy. But the fact that the US and China are holding regular climate talks and nurturing joint policy initiatives represents a real ray of hope in the other dismal landscape of climate change. If they act together with real seriousness of purpose (admittedly an open question), the US and China could conceivable create a tipping set that changes for the better the entire nature of the climate game for other countries.

Climate policy scholars and advocates ought to be paying close attention to these and other sub-global negotiations, which are far more likely to produce fruit than the stuck-in-the-mud UN negotiation process.

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