The secretary of state, John Kerry, has promised climate change will top the agenda of this week’s broad US-Chinese strategic dialogue, further stoking expectation of co-operation between the world’s two greatest carbon polluters.
Kerry said climate change would remain a key focus of the annual economic and strategic dialogue, which got underway on Wednesday.
America and China between them account for more than 40% of greenhouse gas emissions. “I want to underscore that when we make a decision … it ripples beyond our borders,” Kerry said. “How will we curb climate change? How will we pioneer new energy technology that is in fact the solution to climate change?” Kerry said in his opening remarks at the fifth annual US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
Kerry’s mention of climate change – at talks that are expected to be dominated by concerns about cyber-security in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations – were seen as a further encouraging sign of movement on climate change from the US and China.
Barack Obama and China’s premier Xi Jinping agreed at a summit in California last month to work together to reduce the production of especially powerful climate pollutants – hydrofluorocarbons – which are used in air conditioners and refrigerators.
That deal – followed one week later by Obama’s announcement of a sweeping climate change plan – have eased the way for further co-operation between America and China, said Deborah Seligsohn, who has advised the World Resources Institute on China’s climate and energy policies.
Obama’s plan would bypass Congress to use government agencies to cut emissions from power plants and take other climate measures.
Seligsohn said the move could prod China towards more ambitious curbs on its own greenhouse gas emissions at future negotiating rounds.
“There is a little bit of new wind in everybody’s sails right now,” she told a conference call with reporters.
She did not point to a specific area of agreement at this week’s talks, but said she expected progress on a range of areas from joint ventures on solar and wind energy to research on carbon capture and storage technology. “I think what we are going to see is a lot more co-operatin in a lot of new areas.”
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