The world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters, the US and China, are to outline joint strategies to tackle climate change, US secretary of state John Kerry said at the opening of a strategic dialogue between the two on Tuesday.
Between them, the pair emit more than 40% of global greenhouse gases, and their leaders agreed in June to collaboratively promote measures to cut hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs) emissions.
The commitment by Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping came shortly after China’s declaration to set climate targets by 2016. In June, Obama made one of his strongest speeches about climate change, saying that polluters “need to stop”.
The US-Chinese strategic dialogue has been hosted since the beginning of the Obama administration as a “major channel of communications to enhance mutual trust, boost cooperation on varied fields and properly deal with differences to prevent them from derailing the general relations”, as stated by the Chinese government.
The two countries are expected to also discuss cyber-security, but the opening speech by Kerry has suggested that further discussion about climate measures may come to the table.
“How will we curb climate change? How will we pioneer new energy technology that is in fact the solution to climate change?”, Kerry said, according to the Guardian.
China has been urged to adopt measures to tackle climate change and pollution because of the severe health problems experienced by its people. A recent study highlighted the worrying effects of the free coal policy, which is believed to have reduced life expectancy by five-and-half years in northern regions.
The government is also said to be considering handing the death penalty to those responsible of the worst cases of pollution and environmental degradation.