Politics

USA and China Joined Climate Leadership

USA and China demonstrated their joined commitment to climate leadership during the G20 summit

September 15th, 2016
Vojtech Jirasek, CD News
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On September 3, 2016, the United States of America and China demonstrated their continued and shared commitment to climate leadership during the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Chinese Hangzhou. President Obama and President Xi showed united effort and commitment to formally join the Paris Agreement reached last December.

The two countries are the world’s largest economies as well as its largest greenhouse gas emitters. With both countries taking this important step forward, the world comes significantly closer to bringing the Paris Agreement into action and honoring its commitment to future generations to address the dangerous impacts of climate change.

In recent years, the United States and China have made climate change cooperation a pillar of their bilateral relationship. Both nations have taken strong measures to build low-carbon, climate-resilient economies domestically and internationally and much of that shared progress is thanks to the comprehensive cooperation and dialogue both sides have established.

But the world is still a long way from where we need to be. To prevent the worst impacts of climate change from happening, it is essential for the Paris Agreement to come into action as quickly as possible. Through this initiative both United States and China strongly urge other countries to join the Agreement as soon as they are able, in hopes of meeting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s goal of bringing it into being this year.

The United States and China also committed to working together and with other countries to achieve successful climate outcomes this year by adopting an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbons, and approving a global market-based measure for addressing carbon emissions from international aviation. Achieving these important actions this year will help the world reach the ambitious goals we set in Paris. And it would send a clear signal to all sectors that the global momentum to tackle climate change is only building.

The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the framework of the UNFCCC dealing with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. An agreement on the language of the treaty was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015. As of September 2016, 180 UNFCCC members have signed the treaty, 26 of which have ratified it, which is not enough for the treaty to enter into force.

The United States of America signed the treaty together with 180 other signatures on April 22, 2016, and ratified it recently on September 3, 2016.

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion. It was agreed on August 1987, and entered into force on August 1989, followed by a first meeting in Helsinki, May 1989. Since then, it has undergone eight revisions. As a result of the international agreement, the ozone hole in Antarctica is slowly recovering.

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