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The 8th Round of China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue Holds Special Joint Conference on Climate Change

On June 6, 2016, the special joint conference on climate change, as part of the 8th round of China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue, was held at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. Special representatives of President Xi Jinping, Vice Premier Wang Yang as well as State Councilor Yang Jiechi and special representatives of President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew of the US, co-chaired the meeting.

Wang Yang expressed that the successful cooperation between China and the US on climate change demonstrates that the two countries can make many major achievements to benefit both themselves and the whole world. Breakthroughs in the negotiation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change are inseparable from the effective China-US cooperation. President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama have announced respective action targets for countering climate change after 2020, which in particular embodies the strategic responsibilities of responsible major countries. Sticking to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities is the important premise for successful bilateral cooperation. It is hoped that both sides can continue to deepen cooperation along this correct direction. The Paris Agreement is a new start of China-US cooperation on climate change. China has started its campaign on energy conservation and emission reduction as well as environmental governance. If the two countries can meet each other halfway, China and the US will certainly yield new results from cooperation on dealing with climate change.

Wang Yang stressed that when it comes to tackling climate change, actions speak louder than words. China has set its goal of peaking its carbon dioxide emissions around 2030. The country also pledged 20 billion yuan to establish a fund for South-South cooperation on climate change along with other measures. It is hoped that developed countries will earnestly fulfill their commitments including the one to offer 100 billion USD to developing countries annually before 2020, realize emission reduction targets, and perform the obligation to transfer environment-friendly technology to developing countries.

Yang Jiechi said that since the first special joint conference on climate change in 2013, climate change cooperation has become a highlight in the establishment of a new model of major-country relationship between China and the US. Both China and the US have actively implemented the Ten-Year Framework on Energy and Environment Cooperation, issued three joint statements and played key roles in reaching the Paris Agreement. This year is a crucial year for the international community to prepare for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. China and the US should extend the cooperation spirit of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, push for the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and participate in follow-up negotiations on the Agreement in a constructive way. Both countries should take advantage of the G20 Hangzhou Summit this September to promote member states to achieve more practical results in such agendas as energy accessibility, clean energy, energy efficiency, and global energy governance, and continue to actively expand practical cooperation in such areas as energy conservation and emissions reduction, clean energy, smart power grids, green ports and low-carbon cities though frameworks including China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue, China-US Summit on Climate-Smart/Low-Carbon Cities, and climate change working group. Both countries need to enhance communication, and find green development paths conforming to respective national conditions, development stage and practical capacity, so as to realize common development at a higher level and set an example for world sustainable development.

John Kerry noted that since the establishment of China-US climate change working group in 2003, it has yielded positive results and become a powerful pillar for the mechanism of US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Cooperation on climate change between both countries has been increasingly strengthened, making important contributions to reaching the Paris Agreement. The US and China should make joint efforts to push for the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement. It is hoped that the two countries can show stronger leadership within multilateral frameworks including the G20, in an effort to shift away the world from intensive, high-polluting energy consumption.

Jacob Lew expressed that the US and China should take active actions, strengthen follow-up cooperation of the Paris Agreement at bilateral and multilateral levels, encourage more enterprises to operate in a low-carbon way and promote the use of green financing. The two countries need to create employment opportunities, drive innovative technology and boost economic development during the process of combating climate change.

During the meeting, representatives from China and the US exchanged candid and in-depth views on the next-stage action of the Paris Agreement and bilateral cooperation, reaching several consensus. The meeting adopted the annual report of China-US climate change working group.

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