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US-China agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

July 12, 2013

Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama take a walk at the Annenberg Retreat

The United States and China, the world’s top emitters of greenhouse gases, agreed to five initiatives yesterday to cut carbon dioxide emissions from the largest sources, including heavy-duty vehicles, manufacturing and coal-fired plants, the State Department said.

Working closely with private sector and non-governmental stakeholders, the Working Group will develop implementation plans for the following initiatives by October 2013:

  • Reducing emissions from heavy-duty and other vehicles: Heavy-duty vehicles are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation in the United States and account for more than half of transportation fuel consumed in China. Light-duty vehicles also contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, fuel use and air pollution. Efforts under this initiative will include advancing comprehensive policies to reduce CO2 and black carbon emissions through: enhanced heavy-duty fuel efficiency standards; cleaner fuels and vehicle emissions control technologies; and more efficient, clean freight.
  • Increasing carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS): Together, the United States and China account for more than 40 percent of global coal consumption. Emissions from coal combustion in the electric power and industrial sectors can be significantly reduced through CCUS. China and the United States will cooperate to overcome barriers to deploying CCUS by implementing several large-scale, integrated CCUS projects in both countries. These demonstrations will engage companies in both countries and allow for enhanced trade and commerce.
  • Increasing energy efficiency in buildings, industry, and transport: The United States and China recognize that there is significant scope for reducing emissions and reducing costs through comprehensive efforts to improve energy efficiency. Both sides commit to intensify their efforts, with an initial focus on promoting the energy efficiency of buildings, which account for over 30 percent of energy use in both countries, including through the use of innovative financing models.
  • Improving greenhouse gas data collection and management: Both countries place a high priority on comprehensive, accurate reporting of economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions data to track progress in reducing emissions and to develop and implement mitigation policies. The United States will work with China to build capacity for collection and management of greenhouse gas emissions data, a critical foundation for smart climate change policies in both countries.
  • Promoting smart grids: The power sector accounts for over one third of U.S. and Chinese carbon emissions. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector and put in place a resilient, low-carbon power grid, both countries are developing modern, “smart” grid systems, deploying renewable and clean energy, and improving demand management. The U.S. and China will collaborate on building smart grids that are more resilient, more efficient, and can incorporate more renewable energy and distributed generation.

These initiatives, and others the Working Group will develop, demonstrate the commitment of both countries to combat climate change and complement domestic efforts, including President Obama’s recently announced Climate Action Plan.

For more information on the U.S. – China Climate Change Working Group, please see this Fact Sheet. The full Working Group Report can be found here on July 11th after 5pm.

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