By Timothy Cama
US, China to expand on climate pact
The United States and China will announce new commitments Friday to expand on last year’s major joint agreement on climate change, including through a cap-and-trade system for China.
The new bilateral agreement will add details to how the countries will implement the pledge announced in November.
In that pact, the United States agreed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent by 2025 and China agreed to peak its greenhouse gases by 2030, the first such promise from the world’s largest carbon dioxide emitter.
The Friday announcement will include a number of new declarations regarding domestic policies within the two countries and how the countries will provide financing to developing nations to help them cope with climate change, senior Obama administration officials said Thursday.
“This is a statement that has been worked closely on and negotiated closely by our respective teams over the course of many months, and it has three basic components,” an official said.
The China agreement was instantly controversial among Republican lawmakers who highly doubt China will live up to its commitments. They also argue it holds the United States to unreasonable standards that will dramatically harm the economy.
The new commitment on Friday comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping is in the United States for an official state visit, with climate on the agenda for discussion with President Obama.
Significantly, China is pledging to implement a national cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases by 2017, applying to sectors including power generation, steel and building materials.
“These sectors together produce a substantial percentage of China’s climate pollution, and this reflects a significant policy move that the Chinese are announcing they will take,” an Obama administration official told reporters.
China will also use a “green dispatch” system for its power generation, in which it will prioritize generation from low- and zero-carbon sources like renewable energy over highly polluting sources like coal.
The agreement will include heavy-duty vehicle emissions rules and new efficiency and appliances standards.
The other pieces of the new pact focus on international climate financing and how the two countries want to negotiate in the run-up to December’s international climate-pact talks in Paris.
While Obama has pledged $3 billion for the international Green Climate Fund, China will announce other climate financing outside of that system, said the administration officials.
Republicans in Congress have called the $3 billion promise dead on arrival and promised to make sure it is never funded.
- Updated at 9:38 p.m.