US, China strike deal on climate change projects

 

The U.S. and China signed agreements on eight climate change projects Wednesday, including stricter greenhouse emission regulations from Beijing.

Four of the eight projects will focus on carbon capture utilization and storage, while another four will be on smart grids. The two countries also agreed to conduct a study on the use of gas in industrial boilers, and China said it would adopt tougher standards on heavy and light duty vehicle efficiency and greenhouse gas.

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The agreements came as Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew held a session focused strictly on climate change with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Vice Premier Wang Yang in Beijing.

In remarks after the session, Kerry praised China for its willingness to work with the U.S. on climate action, and stressed the need for all countries to work together on the issue.

"I have to emphasize to you nothing that the United States does alone, nothing that Europe does alone, nothing that any country does alone will be able to do the job," Kerry said.

The talks also led to a new initiative on climate change and forests, spurring China to monitor emissions from natural sources, which account for one quarter of global emissions.

The agreements also involved companies and research institutions that will share information on clean coal power generation technology like carbon capture.

During the meetings, Todd Stern, the climate envoy for the State Department, said Kerry, Lew, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, and White House science adviser John Holdren laid out the efforts the U.S. is taking domestically to combat greenhouse gas emissions.

Stern said he and White House adviser John Podesta discussed "in detail" efforts to form emissions targets for post-2020 with Chinese Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua on Tuesday.

When asked to elaborate on the discussion, Stern admitted no "concrete numbers" for post-2020 reduction targets were agreed upon or mentioned — instead the countries focused on the process for developing a target.

U.S. and Chinese efforts to combat emissions and establish policies ahead of United Nations climate change talks in Paris next year will be crucial.

Other countries are looking to the U.S. and China, which both emit the largest amount of greenhouse gases in the world, to lead on the issue.

Kerry reiterated on Wednesday that the administration is prioritizing climate change at home an in its diplomatic engagements.

"We are now working across our government in an all-government effort on the president's climate action plan," Kerry said.