Regarding the U.S.-China Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
September 25, 2015

Climate change is a defining challenge of our time, and it cannot be addressed without the United States and China working together. As the world’s two largest economies and emitters, the United States and China have a critical role to play in tackling this challenge. Following the historic Joint Announcement on Climate Change made by President Obama and President Xi last November, today’s Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change represents a significant step forward in U.S.-China leadership and cooperation on climate change.

In recent months, U.S. and Chinese officials have engaged in extensive dialogue to find common ground in advance of the upcoming United Nations climate conference in Paris this December. The Joint Statement’s “Vision for Paris” reflects shared understandings between the United States and China on core issues in the negotiations, including the need to conclude an agreement that ramps up the ambition of our mitigation efforts over time, has a robust transparency system, and points toward a low-carbon transformation of the global economy this century. It is our hope that this shared vision can help bridge divides and bring the world together to reach a strong and lasting agreement this December.

The United States and China are also acting decisively to implement policies and initiatives to control our carbon pollution and support the achievement of the post-2020 targets President Obama and President Xi announced last year. Complementing the recent finalization of the U.S. Clean Power Plan, which will reduce emissions in the U.S. power sector by 32 percent by 2030, China confirmed that in 2017 it will launch a national emissions trading system covering power generation, steel, cement, and other high-emitting sectors, as well as implement a “green dispatch” system to increase the contribution of low-carbon energy sources to China’s power supply. Both countries are also taking a wide range of other steps to reduce carbon pollution, including developing new heavy-duty vehicle efficiency standards and stepping up work to phase down super-polluting hydrofluorocarbons, to name just a few.

The Joint Statement also breaks new ground on climate change finance. Today, China announced a significant commitment of CNY 20 billion (US $3.1 billion) to help developing countries combat climate change, complementing the U.S. $3 billion pledge to the Green Climate Fund that President Obama made last year.

Finally, as we move forward to achieve these ambitious goals, we continue to deepen and expand our bilateral cooperation, including at the state and local levels. Just last week at the U.S.-China Climate Leaders Summit in Los Angeles, U.S. and Chinese mayors and governors signed a pledge to take ambitious action on climate change at the local level. A number of China's cities and provinces committed to peak their climate pollution as early as 2020, well ahead of China’s national goal. And in the United States, cities like Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, and Des Moines are proving that deep reductions are not only possible, but improve the quality of life in major cities.

The United States and China are tackling climate change together. It is imperative that leaders of all nations come together to take on this challenge in a spirit of common purpose to protect the home that we all share.