China and the U.S., the world’s two biggest emitters of carbon dioxide, pledged to cooperate in addressing climate change amid stalled international talks on protecting the environment.
The two nations in April established a climate-change working group, National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua said today after meeting Todd Stern, the U.S. special envoy on climate change. The working group will report its findings to U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue talks in July, Stern said.
“We will further move forward the climate change process of the world,” under the framework of the United Nations, Xie, China’s lead climate negotiator, said in Beijing. “We hope that this can become a new highlight of the China-U.S. bilateral relationship.”
China has been reluctant to cap its carbon emissions, which scientists link to global warming, over fears doing so will curb economic growth. The country has drafted plans to put emission-intensity targets and caps in its five-year plan through 2020, the 21st Century Business Herald reported May 20.
Action by China and the U.S. “is particularly important as we intensify efforts in the multilateral negotiations on a new climate agreement for the post 2020-period,” Stern said.
International negotiations on a climate-protection deal have so far failed to secure commitments. Envoys from more than 190 nations are scheduled to next meet at an annual UN climate summit in Warsaw in November to take forward talks on a global greenhouse-gas reduction treaty. The deal, which they aim to agree by 2015, would come into force from 2020.
Stern will return to Beijing on June 18 for more talks, Xie said.
— With assistance by Henry Sanderson