US and China to strengthen climate change cooperation at local level

The United States – China cooperation on climate change marked another important step this week in Los Angeles, where representatives from both countries convened the US – China Smart/Low -Carbon Cities Summit to focus on and improve efforts at the local level.
Less than three months ahead of the COP 21 in Paris and nearly a year after the joint announcement of their post-2020 mitigation commitments, the two world’s top economies and emitters promoted a partnership between their cities and provinces with the aim to support and enhance the implementation of respective national climate targets. The Summit, was also an opportunity for leading cities from both sides to share best practices, discuss common objectives and strengthen cooperation among them and with the private sector.

As a main outcome of the two-day meeting, a number of Chinese and United States’ subnational leaders signed a Declaration in which they affirm the willingness and determination to lead climate actions in respective countries committing to put in place a set of measures including the establishment of ambitious targets to cut GHG emissions and build climate resilience, the reporting of emissions via regular GHG inventories, the definition of Climate Action Plans as well as the enhancement of bilateral partnership and cooperation.
The document also includes a list of actions from States, Provinces, Cities, and Counties that have already committed to the fight against climate change. As for the U.S., there are, among the others, the State of California, which has one of the most ambitious climate regulations in the country with its targets of reducing emissions by 40% (compared to 1990) and increasing electricity from renewables to 50% by 2030. Further targets will be implemented by other cities like Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Houston, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C.
The Chinese counterparts include the cities of Shenzhen and Beijing, that have been already involved in the pilot trading schemes’ programme, but also other cities that planned to peak their emissions between 2020 (specifically, Beijing and Guangzhou) and 2030. Moreover, these cities committed to jointly establish a new “Alliance of Peaking Pioneer Cities” (APPC) aimed at supporting the national peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030, as announced last year by President Xi last November and stated in the China’s INDC for the Paris deal. In that occasion President Obama announced a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 26-28 percent below its 2005 level by 2025.
U.S and Chinese Presidents will meet again next week, in Washington DC, where, among other things, they will discuss the outcomes from the Los Angeles Summit.
According to anote relesead by the US department of State, “The Summit represents a key opportunity to galvanize climate action before December’s United Nations climate conference in Paris”.


(Image: US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping during a bilateral meeting in The Hague, March 24, 2014. Photo credit: U.S. Embassy The Hague on Flickr)