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US-China joint announcement on mitigation is a game-changer for prospects of a global deal

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At the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting US and China cemented their diplomatic relationship through a joint announcement which included:

  • The US announced a new target to cut net greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.
  • China announced targets to peak CO2 emissions around 2030, with the intention to try to peak early, and to increase the non-fossil fuel share of all energy to around 20 percent by 2030.

With the EU, China and US announcing their mitigation commitments half of the world’s GDP is now reorienting itself towards decarbonisation. This announcement demonstrates that both countries understand the importance of an international agreement on climate change to securing their national interest. This provides a game changing moment for the prospects of an ambitious international climate agreement in Paris next year.

Despite these announcements, the US, EU and China are still not fully internalising the devastating impacts to their economic and industrial models if the world fails to avoid unmanageable climate change. More ambition before Paris is essential. Whilst the level of ambition is not sufficient to limit dangerous climate change, neither does it lock it out. Much like the recent EU announcement to agree ‘at least’ 40% emissions reduction based on 1990 levels by 2030, the Chinese intent to show flexibility in their peaking date has potential to ensure the world stays on a trajectory consistent with 2°C, essential for averting dangerous climate change.

This deal will give a big boost to low carbon industries. It will require China to deploy an additional 800-1,000 gigawatts of nuclear, wind, solar and other zero emission generation capacity by 2030 – more than all the coal-fired power plants that exist in China today and close to total current electricity generation capacity in the United States. (FACT SHEET: U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change and Clean Energy Cooperation)

Liz Gallagher, Climate Diplomacy Programme Leader at E3G said

“These two countries shape the global emissions trajectory. Their collaboration makes the prospects of a deal in Paris a safe bet. But a G2 agreement won’t get us a good enough deal. Paris will be a negotiation, not an array of emissions reduction offers. This negotiation will need to include elements such as Finance, a long-term target, legal form, transparency and adaptation. Others can’t kick back and relax; there is still much work to be done ahead of December next year”.

Contact

Nick Mabey, CEO, +44 (0) 7949 768 771, nick.mabey@e3g.org

Liz Gallagher, Climate Diplomacy Programme Leader, + 44 (0) 7920 461 838, liz.gallagher@e3g.org

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