US, China Announce Domestic Climate Actions

by | Sep 28, 2015

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US China Environmental LeaderThe US and China released a Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change, which includes substantial domestic climate actions that are designed to help the countries achieve their respective post-2020 climate goals announced in November 2014.

China announced that it is launching a national emissions trading system in 2017. The cap-and-trade system will support emissions reductions in power generation, iron and steel, chemicals, building materials including cement, paper-making and non-ferrous metals. Combined, these sectors produce a substantial percentage of China’s carbon pollution.

China is also implementing a new “green dispatch” system in its power sector, which will prioritize power generation from renewable sources and establish guidelines to accept electricity first from the most efficient and lowest-polluting fossil fuel generators.

These announcements complement the recent finalization of the US Clean Power Plan, which will reduce emissions in the US power sector by 32 percent by 2030. The US also committed to finalizing, in 2016, a federal plan to implement carbon emission standards for power plants in states that choose not to design their own implementation plans.

Both countries are developing new heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency standards, to be finalized in 2016 and implemented in 2019, and both countries are also stepping up their work to phase down super-polluting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

The US and China announced further steps to help accelerate the transition to low-carbon development internationally, including a new $3.1 billion climate finance commitment by China to help developing countries combat climate change. The US had already pledged $3 billion to support climate action in developing countries.

The US and China reached an important new understanding on the need to control financing for high-carbon projects internationally. China agreed to work toward strictly controlling public investment flowing into projects with high pollution and carbon emissions both domestically and internationally. This follows a commitment in 2013 by the US to end public financing for new conventional coal-fired power plants except in the poorest countries, and a growing number of other countries and financing institutions moving in a similar direction.

Photo credit: US and China flags via Shutterstock

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