CHINA> National
US-China co-op urged on climate change
Updated: 2009-02-10 09:35

WASHINGTON -- Experts from the US Asia Society Center on US-China Relations and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change on Monday urged the Obama administration to take immediate action to create a new, groundbreaking collaboration with China to address the urgent issue of climate change.

"Closer cooperation with China should be a high priority in a US climate strategy," said Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, at a press conference that was held for the release of the report Common Challenge, Collaborative Response.

In the report, produced by the Initiative for US-China Cooperation on Energy and Climate Task Force, over 50 of the world 's leading scientists, China experts, political and business leaders provide the Obama administration with a new policy roadmap for immediate action with China.

This report presents both a vision and a concrete roadmap for a new collaboration that could turn the US and China into global leaders on the climate change challenge, while simultaneously helping to transform this most critical of all bilateral relationships in the world into one which is under-girded by cooperation on this crucial common interest.

Related readings:
 Wen: China all out to tackle climate change
 UN chief calls 2009 'year of climate change'
 Developed countries urged to help address climate change
 Fighting climate change

"Working together, the United States and China can advance key technologies and provide a stronger foundation for an effective global climate effort," said Claussen. "An effective global response to climate change is possible only with the full engagement and leadership of the United States and China."

"With a new presidential administration in the US and an increasing awareness of the dangers of global warming among Chinese leaders, our two countries are presented with an unparalleled opportunity to form a new strategic partnership aimed at averting catastrophic climate change," said Schell, Arthur Ross Director of the Center on US-China Relations. He thought that without the active participation of the United States and China, efforts by other nations are bound to fall short of being able to halt climate change.

The report maintains that US-China collaboration can help catalyze a new strategic transformation to a global, low-carbon economy that will be more sustainable while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, such close and sustained collaboration between the United States and China will build a stronger foundation for future Sino-American cooperation on other strategic challenges facing both nations in the 21st century.

The report recommends the leaders of the two countries convene a summit to launch a new US-China Partnership on Energy and Climate Change. The presidential summit should outline a major plan of joint action and empower relevant officials in each country to take necessary actions to ensure its implementation.

The experts also showed optimism for the future of the US-China cooperation on energy and climate change, since US President Barack Obama has pledged to reverse the resistance of his predecessor George W. Bush to action on climate change.

On January 26, Obama told the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider immediately a request by California to impose its own strict limits on vehicle carbon dioxide emissions, blamed for contributing to global warming. Democratic EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said Obama's move signaled a "sea change" in US action on climate change.

On the same day, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named Todd Stern, a former White House assistant who was the chief US negotiator at the Kyoto Protocol talks in President Bill Clinton's administration, as the special envoy for climate change.

Stern's appointment sends "an unequivocal message that the United States will be energetic, focused, strategic and serious about addressing global climate change and the corollary issue of clean energy," Clinton said.