Press Statement on Meeting of US-China Working Group on Climate Change

Todd D. Stern
Special Envoy for Climate Change 
Beijing, China
June 3, 2013

Good afternoon. Thank you for coming. My name is Todd Stern and I am the U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change. Thank you to my friend Vice Chairman Xie for graciously hosting us for a productive day of discussions.

Action on climate is a major priority for the United States. Under President Obama, the United States has done more to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions than ever before. The administration has put in place aggressive new fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks; we’ve invested tens of billions in clean energy, which has contributed to a doubling of renewable energy generation in last four years; and we’re implementing standards and policies to significantly improve energy efficiency in American homes and businesses.

But we fully recognize the need to do more, especially in concert with the other major economies that together are responsible for the lion’s share of global emissions.

Last month, the U.S. and China issued a Joint Statement recognizing in no uncertain terms that climate change is a scientific reality that threatens the economic livelihood and security of our two nations and of the world economy. We believe that forceful, nationally appropriate action by the United States and China – including large-scale cooperative action – is more critical than ever. We believe that such action can and will be good for each of our countries and will strengthen our bilateral relationship. As Secretary Kerry noted during his recent visit to Beijing, this cooperative effort signals to the rest of the world that the world’s two largest economies are strongly committed to addressing this grave challenge, both together and independently. This is particularly important as we intensify multilateral negotiations on a new climate agreement for the post-2020 period.

The Joint Statement created a Working Group to elevate climate change in our bilateral relationship and to identify concrete, pragmatic actions that our two countries can take together to reduce our emissions in various sectors. This Working Group will report its findings and recommendations at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington in early July.

Our two teams have been working collaboratively over the last six weeks to take stock of existing bilateral programs and to evaluate new opportunities for joint action.

Today, on the eve of the first meeting between President Obama and President Xi in California, we held very constructive and in-depth discussions on a number of substantive areas that hold promise for reducing emissions in various segments of our economies. We made significant progress in our talks and we will continue to work diligently together to prepare the new initiatives. Vice Chairman Xie and I will meet again in a few weeks’ time, together with our interagency teams, to further develop and finalize the outcomes we will present at the S&ED.

Thank you for your time.