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Barack Obama and Xi Jinping, US-China Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change, Sept. 25, 2015

President Barack Obama and Xi Jinping issued a joint announcement on what the U.S. and China will do to support an ambitious agreement at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference. They issued this statement in Washington, D.C.
September 25, 2015

U.S.-China Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change, Sept. 25, 2015

1. In November 2014, President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping stood together in Beijing to make a historic U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change, emphasizing their personal commitment to a successful climate agreement in Paris and marking a new era of multilateral climate diplomacy as well as a new pillar in their bilateral relationship. On the occasion of President Xi’s State Visit to Washington, D.C., the two Presidents reaffirm their shared conviction that climate change is one of the greatest threats facing humanity and that their two countries have a critical role to play in addressing it. The two Presidents also reaffirm their determination to move ahead decisively to implement domestic climate policies, to strengthen bilateral coordination and cooperation, and to promote sustainable development and the transition to green, low-carbon, and climate-resilient economies.

Vision for the Paris Climate Conference:

2. The two Presidents reaffirm the U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change of November 12, 2014. Recalling the Durban mandate to adopt a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties, they strengthen their resolve to work together and with others toward an ambitious, successful Paris outcome that furthers the implementation of the objective of the Convention, mindful of the below 2 degree C global temperature goal.

3. They reaffirm their commitment to reach an ambitious agreement in 2015 that reflects the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances. They further consider that differentiation should be reflected in relevant elements of the agreement in an appropriate manner.

4. Both sides support the inclusion in the Paris outcome of an enhanced transparency system to build mutual trust and confidence and promote effective implementation including through reporting and review of action and support in an appropriate manner. It should provide flexibility to those developing countries that need it in light of their capacities.

5. The United States and China welcome the enhanced actions reflected in the intended nationally determined contributions communicated by each other and by other Parties.

6. The two sides recognize that Parties’ mitigation efforts are crucial steps in a longer-range effort needed to transition to green and low-carbon economies and they should move in the direction of greater ambition over time. Further, the United States and China underscore the importance of formulating and making available mid-century strategies for the transition to low-carbon economies, mindful of the below 2 degree C global temperature goal. Both sides also emphasize the need for global low-carbon transformation during the course of this century.

7. Both sides stress the importance of adaptation. The Paris agreement should accord greater prominence and visibility to adaptation, including by recognizing that it is a key component of the long-term global response to climate change, in terms of both preparing for the unavoidable impacts of climate change and enhancing resilience. The agreement should encourage Parties to work at both the national and international levels to build resilience and reduce vulnerability. It should provide for regular, high-level focus on adaptation.

8. The two sides reaffirm that, in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation, developed countries committed to a goal of mobilizing jointly USD 100 billion a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries and that this funding would come from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance. They underscore the importance of continued, robust financial support beyond 2020 to help developing countries build low-carbon and climate-resilient societies. They urge continued support by developed countries to developing countries and encourage such support by other countries willing to do so.

9. The two sides also recognize the crucial role of major technological advancement in the transition to green and low-carbon, climate-resilient and sustainable development and affirm the importance of significant increases in basic research and development in the coming years both within their own economies and globally.

Advancing Domestic Climate Action:

10. The United States and China are committed to achieving their respective post-2020 actions as announced in last November’s Joint Announcement. Since that time, both countries have taken key steps toward implementation and are committing to continue intensifying efforts, which will substantially promote global investment in low-carbon technologies and solutions.

11. Since last November’s Joint Announcement, the United States has taken major steps to reduce its emissions, and it is announcing important additional implementation plans today. In August 2015, the United States finalized the Clean Power Plan, which will reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector to 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. In 2016, the United States will finalize a federal plan to implement carbon emission standards for power plants in states that do not choose to design their own implementation plans under the Clean Power Plan. The United States commits to finalize its next-stage, world-class fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles in 2016 and implement them in 2019. In August 2015, the United States proposed separate standards for methane emissions from landfills and the oil and gas sector, and commits to finalize both standards in 2016. In July 2015, the United States finalized significant new measures to reduce use and emissions of HFCs through the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program, and commits today to continue to pursue new actions in 2016 to reduce HFC use and emissions. Finally, in the buildings sector, the United States commits to finalize over 20 efficiency standards for appliances and equipment by the end of 2016.

12. China is making great efforts to advance ecological civilization and promote green, low-carbon, climate resilient and sustainable development through accelerating institutional innovation and enhancing policies and actions. China will lower carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 60% to 65% from the 2005 level by 2030 and increase the forest stock volume by around 4.5 billion cubic meters on the 2005 level by 2030. China will promote green power dispatch, giving priority, in distribution and dispatching, to renewable power generation and fossil fuel power generation of higher efficiency and lower emission levels. China also plans to start in 2017 its national emission trading system, covering key industry sectors such as iron and steel, power generation, chemicals, building materials, paper-making, and nonferrous metals. China commits to promote low-carbon buildings and transportation, with the share of green buildings reaching 50% in newly built buildings in cities and towns by 2020 and the share of public transport in motorized travel reaching 30% in big- and medium-sized cities by 2020. It will finalize next-stage fuel efficiency standards for heavy-duty vehicles in 2016 and implement them in 2019. Actions on HFCs continue to be supported and accelerated, including effectively controlling HFC-23 emissions by 2020.

Enhancing Bilateral and Multilateral Climate Cooperation:

13. Building on the robust bilateral cooperation initiatives that support the achievement of ambitious domestic actions, the two sides commit to further deepen and enhance these efforts through the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group (CCWG), the premier mechanism for facilitating constructive U.S.-China dialogue and cooperation on climate change. The two sides have made concrete progress in each of the initiatives, including heavy-duty and other vehicles, smart grids, carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), energy efficiency in buildings and industry, collecting and managing greenhouse gas emissions data, climate change and forests, industrial boilers efficiency and fuel switching, and climate-smart/low-carbon cities, and will continue to work together on green ports and vessels and zero emission vehicles, as well as the enhanced policy dialogue and cooperation on HFCs. Furthermore, a new Domestic Policy Dialogue was established this year to share information on respective domestic actions. The two sides will continue to devote significant effort and resources to the existing initiatives. On the CCUS project agreed to in the 2014 Joint Announcement, the two countries have identified the project site in Yan’an-Yulin, Shan’xi Province, China, operated by Shan’xi Yanchang Petroleum. The two sides will continue to collaborate to demonstrate the utilization of CO2 for enhanced water recovery.

14. The United States and China recognize and appreciate the critical role of cities, states and provinces in addressing climate change, supporting the implementation of national actions and accelerating the long-term transition to a low carbon and livable society. The Presidents welcome the outcome of the First Session of the U.S.-China Climate-Smart/Low-Carbon Cities Summit, held in Los Angeles on September 15-16, 2015, and look forward to a successful Second Session to be held in Beijing in 2016. The Presidents support the U.S.-China Climate Leaders Declaration, signed by 24 provinces, states, cities, and counties of the United States and China, as well as the climate actions listed in the Declaration, including an initiative by provinces and cities in China for peaking pioneers and the medium and long-term greenhouse gas reduction targets of states, counties and cities in the United States. The United States and China also emphasize that businesses can play an important role in promoting low-carbon development, and will make continued efforts to encourage and incentivize actions by businesses.

15. The United States and China recognize the importance of mobilizing climate finance to support low-carbon, climate-resilient development in developing countries, particularly the least developed countries, small island developing states, and African countries. In this connection, the United States reaffirms its $3 billion pledge to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and China announces that it will make available ¥20 billion for setting up the China South-South Climate Cooperation Fund to support other developing countries to combat climate change, including to enhance their capacity to access GCF funds. Going forward and through these steps and other actions, the two sides are determined to work constructively and cooperatively together and along with all Parties to the UNFCCC to support developing countries to transition to green and low-carbon development and build climate resilience.

16. The United States and China consider that their bilateral investments in other countries should support low-carbon technologies and climate resilience and commit to discussing the role of public finance in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Both countries are to use public resources to finance and encourage the transition toward low-carbon technologies as a priority. As part of an ongoing and serious commitment to strengthen low-carbon policies and regulations, the United States has ended public financing for new conventional coal-fired power plants except in the poorest countries. China will 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.

17. The United States and China will strengthen their dialogue and cooperation to advance climate change related issues in relevant fora complementary to the UNFCCC, such as the G-20, Montreal Protocol, International Civil Aviation Organization, International Maritime Organization, World Trade Organization and Clean Energy Ministerial.