Signing Ceremony for the U.S.-China Memorandum of Understanding to Enhance Cooperation in Climate Change, Energy, and the Environment

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
July 28, 2009

MODERATOR: Good morning. We are here to commence the signing ceremony for the U.S.-China Memorandum of Understanding to Enhance Cooperation in Climate Change, Energy, and the Environment. We now invite Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Policy David Sandalow and National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chairman Zhang Xiaoqiang to sign the agreement.


(The agreement was signed.)




MODERATOR: We now invite Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern and Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua to sign the agreement.


(The agreement was signed.)




MODERATOR: I would like to now invite the Secretary of State, the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, to make remarks.


SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. This year marks three decades of cooperation between China and the United States. We had our first agreement on science and technology in 1979. This memorandum builds on past efforts, including the Ten Year Framework for Energy Environment Cooperation, and highlights the importance of climate change in our bilateral relationship by creating a platform for climate policy dialogue and cooperation.


It also provides our countries with direction as we work together to support international climate negotiations and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. During the last two days, we’ve had extensive discussions at the Strategic and Economic Dialogue about what the United States and China are doing to reduce emissions, how we can move forward in advance of the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen this December, and the steps we intend to take to promote sustainable low-carbon economic growth.


I would now like to invite my colleague in the Strategic Track of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue to make some remarks, State Councilor Dai.


STATE COUNCILOR DAI: (Via interpreter) Honorable Secretary Clinton, Honorable Secretary Chu, friends from the media, ladies and gentlemen: Today we are gathered here to witness the initialing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Chinese and the American Government on Enhancing Cooperation on Climate Change, Energy, and the Environment. Here on behalf of the Chinese Government delegation, I would like to extend a warm round of congratulation for the initialing of the agreement.


Climate change, energy, and the environment are important subjects covered by the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogues. In the spirit of deepening understanding, expanding common consensus, developing cooperation and pursuing mutual benefit, the two delegations have held many rounds of consultations and arrived at agreement on the MOU. This, I think is fair to say, is an important outcome of this round of S&ED. Both our countries face severe challenges posed by climate change, energy, and the environment. China attaches great importance to dialogue and cooperation with the United States on these subjects.


China is the largest developing country in the world. The United States is the largest developed country in the world. Despite the big differences between our two countries in our basic national conditions, stage of development, historical responsibilities, and our respective capacities, I think there exist conditions, common will, the necessity, and the broad basis for enhancing China-U.S. dialogue and cooperation on these areas. I think we all need to take a strategic and long-term view of China-U.S. dialogue and cooperation in these areas.


And guided by the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, we must handle well the relationship between our commonalities and our differences as we pursue our dialogue and cooperation. And we hope that through our joint efforts, we will be able to expand common ground and cooperation and take our collaborative efforts in these areas to a new height. And I think our two countries have an important contribution to make to the global efforts to tackle climate change, to ensure energy security, to protect the environment and the only planet we have.


Thank you. (Applause.)


MODERATOR: I now invite the Secretary of Energy, The Honorable Steven Chu, to make remarks.


SECRETARY CHU: I want to recognize Secretary Clinton for providing leadership that has helped us bring us to this moment. On her first trip to China as Secretary, Secretary Clinton – as Secretary of State, Secretary Clinton highlighted clean energy and climate change as vital areas for cooperation, and her efforts are paying off today. Xie-xie, Madame Secretary. (Laughter.)


I also want to acknowledge and compliment State Councilor Dai, Vice Minister Zhang, and Vice Minister Xie. As our talks yesterday and my recent trip to China have both demonstrated, our countries have many shared interests when it comes to promoting clean energy and fighting climate change. I am pleased that these issues have been at the heart of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, and I know that energy and climate change will be a critical part of our bilateral relationship for years to come.


The stakes could not be higher. Both of our countries understand the importance of clean energy for our economies and for our security. Both of us understand the imperative of fighting climate change. What the U.S. and China do in the coming decades will help shape the fate of the world. I’m heartened by the progress we are making. Under President Obama’s leadership, the United States has invested billions of dollars in clean energy and has taken bold steps to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicles.


In recent years, China has taken impressive steps to improve energy efficiency, deploy renewable energy, and invest in clean energy technologies. Both our countries, however, must do more. And that’s why today’s agreement is so important. Today’s agreement should send a clear signal that the United States and China are ready to work together on clean energy and climate change. It sets the stage for what I hope will be many years of close cooperation.


Perhaps most exciting is that as we work to solve the energy problem, this agreement will help us unlock the energy opportunity. Through clean energy, we can create new jobs and new industries and vitalize our economy. We can raise standards of living while minimizing harmful pollution.


Did I say all that? (Laughter.)


We can promote energy security relying less on imported oil and more on the renewable energy sources that we have in abundance. I’m particularly excited about the possibilities for scientific collaboration. During my recent trip to China, we announced a new U.S.-China clean energy research center. The initial areas of research include building efficiency, clean coal, including carbon capture and sequestration, and clean vehicles. The underlying principle in that effort and in this one is that we can accomplish more by working together than we can by working alone.


Again, I want to thank Secretary Clinton, State Councilor Dai, Vice Minister Zhang, and Vice Minister Xie, and the entire Chinese delegation. I’m looking forward to working with you all in the coming months and years ahead.




PRN: 2009/786