California, China team up on climate change

Updated: 2013-09-16 06:09

By CHEN JIA in San Francisco (China Daily)

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In a move to strengthen cooperation on lowering carbon dioxide emissions, China's top climate negotiator and California's Governor signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Friday in San Francisco.

The first-of–its-kind agreement between the National Development and Reform Commission of China (NDRC) and a US state clarifies "areas of cooperation", as well as "forms of cooperation" and "implementation".

California, China team up on climate change

China's top climate negotiator Xie Zhenhua and California Governor Jerry Brown signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Friday in San Francisco. [Photo/China Daily]

"Neither China nor the US is exempt from disasters caused by extreme weather," Xie Zhenhua, Vice Chairman of the NDRC, said before the signing ceremony on Friday. NDRC oversees China's efforts to address climate change and much of the government's economic strategy.

In the past ten years, around 76,000 people have lost their lives because of weather-related disasters in China and there has been 4.7 trillion yuan in economic losses as well. The Chinese government has attached great importance to climate change issues and is working very hard to integrate economic development and people's living standards with environmental protection and climate change measures, Xie said.

Since the 11th Five Year Plan, Chinese Government has taken a series of very effective measures which include further transforming the industrial structure, enhancing energy efficiency and saving more energy, developing new energy, and increasing capability to adapt climate change.

Xie said that China has successfully achieved the target of reducing energy consumption from 2006-2012 by 23.6 percent, and CO2 emissions by 1.8 billion tons.

He said both China and US are taking very decisive actions to address climate change. "We can see that in California," Xie said, "and you are taking a lead in this regard."

"I see the partnership between provinces in China, and the state of California as a catalyst and as a lever to change policies in the US and ultimately change policies throughout the world," California Governor Jerry Brown said.

"The fact that the National Development and Reform Commission of the People's Republic of China is entering into an agreement with one of the fifty states reflects the important position of California not only in the economy, but in science, technology and climate change initiatives," he said.

Under the two-year commitment of the MOU, China and the US would share information and experiences regarding policies and programs to strengthen low carbon development across economic sectors; share policy design of carbon emissions trading programs; and invite the other party to advise on program and policy design and rule-making processes that it developed.

It also includes exchanges and temporary assignments of personnel from one of the parties to the other; cooperative research on clean and efficient energy technologies, including developing shared research, development and deployment projects.

"This agreement builds on more than one and half year's significant diplomatic and business exchanges between California and China," Jim Wunderman, the president of the Bay Area Council, said on Friday.

"The partnership on climate change was one of many subjects the California Governor Jerry Brown discussed with Chinese President Xi Jinping on his trade mission trip to China earlier this year," he said.