US-China Memorandum on Climate Change a Positive Sign for Copenhagen Talks
During Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to China an agreement to boost cooperation in the fields of energy efficiency and renewable energy was signed. The climate change agreement will also ensure that two of the world’s largest polluters continue engage in dialogue and finally reach an agreement on reducing carbon emissions.
Secretary Clinton emphasized on the importance of the deal by pointing out that any positive decisions and policy agreements made during the subsequent talks between the two countries could significantly influence the pace of international climate deal negotiations.
The deal holds great significance since the developing countries are looking at the United States to take some bold measures in order to reduce its carbon emissions and promise climate aid to poor and developing countries at the December scheduled Copenhagen Talks. Developed countries, including the United States, maintains that China being the largest greenhouse gas emitter should agree to some emissions reductions too.
The possibility of an international agreement on significant reduction of carbon emissions seems remote given the fact that developed and developing countries are in a deadlock over who takes the burden of emissions reductions and by how much.
Although China showed some signs of cooperation by indicating that it would consider sectoral emission reductions to make its most polluting industries carbon efficient, the contentious issue of technology transfer remains unresolved. China has demanded that the United States provides it with some of the advanced and more efficient technologies but the United States seems reluctant given its regulatory hurdles and political apprehensions.
Nonetheless there have been small but crucial advancements in US-Sino relations as far as green technology and climate change in concerned. The two countries signed a deal to foster collaboration and partnership in the development of improved, more efficient building designs as well as sustainable communities that rely on greater use of renewable energy. Concentrated efforts by diplomats to make progress on the emission reduction issue have yielded positive results in that China has agreed to consider sectoral emission cuts.
China has risen as a major center of renewable energy growth with projects worth billions in various stages of execution. The United States, however, has been finding it difficult to build a political consensus over the issue of emission reduction and expansion of renewable energy.
Many experts believe that a agreement between these two global powers is the only real chance of success the Copenhagen Talks have. Hopefully the leaders of both the countries would agree to some sort of deal which would propel an international agreement on climate change this December.
Photo: yunheisapunk (Creative Commons)
The views presented in the above article are author’s personal views and do not represent those of TERI/TERI University where the author is currently pursuing a Master’s degree.