U.S., China agree on climate change actions

US China reach climate change agreement greenhouse gas reporting carbon capture and storage CCS greenhouse gas GHG energy efficiency

By Jeff Postelwait, Online Editor, Electric Light & Power/POWERGRID International

China and the U.S. have agreed on five areas in which the two countries can address climate change, according to the U.S. Department of State. The climate initiatives include carbon capture and storage, boosting energy efficiency in buildings, deploying renewable energy and investing in smart grid technologies.

The initiatives were developed by the U.S.-China Working Group on Climate Change. The Working Group was established pursuant to the Joint Statement on Climate Change issued on April 13, 2013 during Secretary of State John Kerry's first trip to China.

Working with private sector and non-governmental stakeholders, the Working Group will develop implementation plans for the following initiatives by October 2013:

Improving greenhouse gas reporting: Both countries place a high priority on comprehensive, accurate reporting of economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions data to track progress in reducing emissions and to develop and implement mitigation policies. The U.S. will work with China to build capacity for collection and management of greenhouse gas emissions data, a critical foundation for smart climate change policies in both countries.

Increasing carbon capture and storage (CCS): Together, the U.S. and China account for more than 40 percent of global coal consumption. Emissions from coal combustion in the electric power and industrial sectors can be reduced through CCS. China and the U.S. will cooperate to overcome barriers to deploying CCS by implementing several large-scale, integrated CCS projects in both countries.

Increasing energy efficiency in buildings, industry and transport: The U.S. and China recognize that there is significant scope for reducing emissions and reducing costs through comprehensive efforts to improve energy efficiency. Both sides commit to intensify their efforts, with an initial focus on promoting the energy efficiency of buildings, which account for over 30 percent of energy use in both countries, including through the use of innovative financing models.

Promoting smart grids: The power sector accounts for over one third of U.S. and Chinese carbon emissions. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector and put in place a resilient, low-carbon power grid, both countries are developing smart grid systems, deploying renewable and clean energy, and improving demand management. The U.S. and China will collaborate on building smart grids that are more resilient, more efficient and can incorporate more renewable energy and distributed generation.

Reducing emissions from vehicles: Heavy-duty vehicles are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation in the U.S. and account for more than half of transportation fuel consumed in China. Light-duty vehicles also contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, fuel use and air pollution. Efforts under this initiative will include advancing comprehensive policies to reduce carbon dioxide and black carbon emissions through: enhanced heavy-duty fuel efficiency standards; cleaner fuels and vehicle emissions control technologies; and more efficient, clean freight.

This article was originally published on Electric Light & Power/POWERGRID International. It was republished with permission.

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