Wednesday, April 17, 2013

US China Japan and Others Agree to Fight Climate Change

The world's two biggest economies and worst polluters have signed a groundbreaking agreement to reduce climate change causing greenhouse gases (GHGs). On April 14, 2013, the United States and China announced that they would accelerate action by advancing cooperation on technology, research, conservation, and alternative and renewable energy. In a joint statement the US and China said they “consider that the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding climate change constitutes a compelling call to action crucial to having a global impact on climate change.”

The joint statement acknowledges the urgent need for action to reduce GHG emissions and says, “Such action is crucial both to contain climate change and to set the kind of powerful example that can inspire the world.”

The two sides recognize the sharp rise in average global temperature, ocean acidification, loss of sea ice, and extreme weather events.

A similar deal has also been signed between the US and Japan. The deals with China and Japan reflect an action plan by US climate negotiator Todd Stern, which he outlined in a paper published in 2007. Stern’s plan was to work with the world's worst polluters and avoid the unwieldy geopolitics of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. This group would essentially impose a global deal on the rest of the world.

In addition to Japan, the US and China, the deal will include the EU, Brazil, India and South Africa. Bilateral deals with these countries are already in place, but the question is whether they will be brought to the level of the Chinese and Japanese deals.

The details of the deal between the US and China will be worked out at a Strategic and Economic Dialogue between the two countries in July.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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