WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 3, 2016) — The White House Office of the Press Secretary on Sept. 3 announced that the United States and China formally joined the Paris Agreement in a ceremony in Hangzhou, China.
President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping deposited each country’s official instrument to join the agreement with United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon. The announcement marks another milestone in President Obama and President Xi’s legacy of climate leadership and represents a significant step towards the Paris Agreement entering into force this year. The leaders also affirmed their commitment to work together to reach successful outcomes this year in adopting an ambitious amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs and on a market-based measure to reduce carbon emissions from international aviation, and announced continued bilateral climate cooperation and domestic action.
· Paris Agreement. Last December, more than 190 countries adopted the Paris Agreement, the most ambitious climate change agreement in history. In order for the agreement to take effect and enter into force, at least 55 countries representing at least 55 percent of global emissions need to formally join the Agreement. Today’s action by the United States and China to formally join is a significant step towards entry into force this year with countries representing around 40 percent of global emissions having now joined and more than 55 countries having already joined or publicly committed to work towards joining the agreement this year. In addition, both sides stated their intention to prepare and publish their respective “mid-century, long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies” under the Paris Agreement. The United States has previously committed to publishing its strategy this year, and today, China committed to prepare its strategy as early as possible. And the two countries also announced that they will engage in technical collaboration and consultation on their strategies.
· HFC Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. President Obama and President Xi first underscored the need to phase down the consumption and production of super-polluting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which can be up to 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide, in their meeting at Sunnylands in 2013. In their statement on March 31 this year, they called for a successful outcome in 2016 on an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down the consumption and production of HFCs globally. Today, the United States and China are making their joint goal of a successful outcome more concrete by committing to work together to reach agreement this year on an ambitious and comprehensive HFC amendment with an early freeze date and ambitious phase down schedule, along with increased financial support to assist in implementation. An early freeze date is a critical determinant of an amendment’s ambition, including whether it can avoid up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century.
· International Aviation Emissions. In March 2016, President Obama and President Xi committed to working together to reach a successful outcome this year on a global market-based measure for addressing greenhouse gas emissions from international aviation at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). After close bilateral engagement between the United States and China, as well as constructive multilateral negotiations among ICAO’s member States, the ICAO Assembly will consider the approval of such a measure when it meets in late September. Today, the United States and China are expressing their support for the ICAO Assembly reaching consensus on such a measure. The measure under consideration would be implemented with an initial period in which countries volunteer to join. The United States and China also announced that they expect to be early participants in the measure and volunteer to join, a clear demonstration of leadership by the two largest emitters of international aviation emissions and a signal to others to follow suit.
· Domestic Actions. As they did in the September 2015 announcement, the United States and China highlighted actions that each side is taking domestically to tackle climate change and promote the transition towards low-carbon and climate-resilient economies. The United States highlighted actions including the extension of the production and investment tax credits for wind and solar, which will deploy roughly 100 gigawatts of renewable energy over the next five years, new fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles, and efforts to finalize 20 additional efficiency standards for appliances and equipment by the end of the year. Likewise, China highlighted plans to reduce CO2 and energy intensity by 18 percent and 15 percent, respectively, as well as to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to 15 percent by 2020. China also noted its commitment to start its national cap-and-trade program in 2017 and to promote green power dispatch to accelerate the use of renewable energy.
· Continued Bilateral Cooperation. The United States and China committed to deepen and enhance their ongoing bilateral climate cooperation, which has been a core element of climate action by the two countries and has provided the foundation for leadership in the international climate arena. The two sides plan to continue this cooperation in the years to come through a number of frameworks, including the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group, and the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC). Looking ahead the two countries look forward to the next U.S.-China Climate-Smart / Low-Carbon Cities Summit, to be held in Boston in 2017, as well as the Clean Energy Ministerial, to be held in China in 2017.
U.S.-China Climate Change Cooperation Outcomes
- President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping have forged a historic partnership between the United States and China to lead in combatting climate change. From the Sunnylands meeting in 2013, to the landmark November 2014 Joint Announcement on Climate Change and the September 2015 and March 2016 Joint Presidential Statements on Climate Change, leadership by the United States and China has galvanized global action to build a green, low-carbon, and climate-resilient world and was a major contributor to achieving the historic Paris Agreement. Climate change has formed a central pillar of the bilateral relationship between the two countries. Both sides are committed to implementing the three presidential joint statements on climate change and will continue to deepen and broaden bilateral climate change cooperation, building on the concrete progress and productive outcomes achieved thus far.
- Today, the United States and China deposited with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon their respective instruments to join the Paris Agreement, marking a significant contribution towards the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement. The two Presidents call on all other Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to join the Paris Agreement as early as possible with the expectation of the Agreement’s entry into force this year. The Presidents further express their continued commitment to work together and with others to promote the full implementation of the Paris Agreement. The United States and China will formulate and publish their respective strategies for mid-century, low-greenhouse gas emission development. The United States will release its strategy in 2016, and China will do so as early as possible. The two countries agree to hold a series of technical exchanges on the formulation of such strategies, beginning this year.
- The United States and China are committed to working bilaterally and with other countries to advance the post-Paris negotiation process and to achieve successful outcomes this year in related multilateral fora. The United States and China commit to work together and with others to reach agreement this year on an ambitious and comprehensive HFC amendment to the Montreal Protocol, including an early first reduction step and early freeze date for Article 2 and Article 5 Parties respectively and an ambitious phase-down schedule, with increased and adequate financial support from Article 2 Parties to help Article 5 Parties with their implementation. The United States and China also intend to work together on critical research regarding the safe use of flammable alternatives and commit to collaborate on enhanced domestic action to reduce use of HFCs, improve efficiency standards, support policies to transform the air conditioning market, and remain active participants in the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Advanced Cooling Challenge.
- The two sides welcome the decision of the ICAO Council to forward to the ICAO Assembly its recommended Resolution on a global market-based measure to address carbon emissions from international aviation. Recognizing the important role of international aviation in addressing climate change, the United States and China support the ICAO Assembly to reach consensus on a global market-based measure this October, and expect to be early participants in such measure.
- The two Presidents celebrate the achievements of the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) and U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) in recent years and commit to further enhance bilateral cooperation on climate change under these and other frameworks. They welcome the success of the U.S.-China Climate-Smart/Low-Carbon Cities Summits in 2015 and 2016 and look forward to the next summit, to be held in Boston, the United States, in 2017, as well as the next Clean Energy Ministerial to be hosted by China in 2017.
- The United States and China commit to continue taking ambitious domestic action to further promote the transition towards green, low-carbon and climate-resilient economies both domestically and internationally.
- In the United States’ power sector, a five-year extension of production and investment tax credits for wind and solar energy will deploy roughly 100GW of renewable energy over the next five years, and the United States has paused new coal leasing on federal lands, while undertaking a comprehensive review of the federal coal program, which makes up roughly 40% of United States coal supply. In the transportation sector, the United States has finalized efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles, which will reduce more than 1 billion tons of carbon pollution over the life of the program. In the building sector, the United States is on track to finalize 20 additional efficiency standards for appliances and equipment by the end of the year, which will contribute to achieving its goal of cutting 3 billion metric tons of carbon pollution from such standards. With respect to non-CO2 emissions, the United States finalized this year measures to reduce domestic HFCs and methane from the oil and gas and landfill sectors.
- China is making great efforts to advance ecological civilization and promote green, low-carbon, climate resilient and sustainable development. During the 13th Five-Year Period (2016-2020), China will lower its carbon dioxide per unit of GDP and energy consumption per unit of GDP by 18% and 15% respectively, increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to 15% and increase the forest stock volume by 1.4 billion cubic meters, as concrete and crucial steps towards implementing its nationally determined contribution. China will continue its efforts to increase energy efficiency in industries, transportation and buildings, promote green power dispatch to accelerate the development of renewable energy, start in 2017 its national emission trading system and phase down the production and consumption of HFCs. China will also promote low-carbon development of transportation by developing standard modern transportation equipment and energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly means of transport.
- Internationally, as part of an ongoing commitment to strengthen low-carbon policies, in 2015 the United States worked with other OECD member countries to adopt new OECD guidelines to limit export finance for overseas coal-fired power plants. The United States also remains committed with other developed countries to the goal of jointly mobilizing 100 billion US dollars per year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation and adaptation action. This funding will come from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance. China is taking concrete steps to strengthen green and low-carbon policies and regulations with a view to strictly controlling public investment flowing into projects with high pollution and carbon emissions both domestically and internationally.