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US, China to Cooperate on Energy and Forests to Tackle Climate Change

china_us_flag9 July 2014: The US and China have announced several joint initiatives with the aim of addressing climate change, including demonstration projects in carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) and smart grids, a study on natural gas use in industrial boilers, and an initiative on climate change and forests.

The announcement was made on 9 July 2014, at the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing, China, where US Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, and China's State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Vice Premier Wang Yang jointly chaired a session on reviewing and strengthening efforts to tackle climate change and air pollution in the two countries. The session saw the launch of eight demonstration projects resulting from work under the US-China Climate Change Working Group, namely four projects on smart grids and four on CCUS. The countries also agreed to conduct a study on the efficiency and use of natural gas in industrial boilers, and announced a new initiative on climate change and forests.

According to Todd Stern, US Special Envoy for Climate Change, the joint session included presentations on domestic policies, with a focus on the link between climate change and air pollution, and areas of current and potential cooperation relating to energy. Stern also informed that the US and Chinese delegations had engaged in conversations on national policies and processes toward developing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets for the post-2020 period.

On 8 July, the US-China Climate Change Working Group also organized a special event celebrating private-sector partnerships in the areas of CCUS, green data centers, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and “green cement.” Also on 8 July, Todd Stern and Xie Zhenhua, Vice Chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), chaired a policy dialogue aimed at coordinating efforts towards an ambitious 2015 climate change agreement, and reaffirmed both countries' commitment to phase down HFCs.

The US-China Climate Change Working Group, established in April 2013, aims to take concrete steps through policy discussions and initiatives to catalyze cooperative efforts and address climate change in key economic sectors. [US State Department Press Release on Key Achievements of the US-China Climate Change Cooperation] [Todd Stern's Remarks].