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August 13, 2009
US and China Agree to Cooperate on Climate Change
    by Robert Kropp

Memorandum of Understanding reinforces UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and calls for the two countries to seek input from business and non-governmental organizations in efforts to combat climate change.

On July 28, the US and China entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to Enhance Cooperation on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment, the purpose of which is to coordinate the efforts of the two countries "to combat global climate change, promote clean and efficient energy, protect the environment and natural resources, and support environmentally sustainable and low-carbon economic growth."

Among the areas of cooperation addressed by the memorandum are energy conservation and efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable transportation, modernization of the electrical grid, conservation of natural resources, and the development of clean energy technologies to combat climate change. The memorandum specifies that "cooperation should seek to include expertise from all sectors of society and provide incentives for engagement" by business and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

As for implementation of the goals of the agreement, the memorandum references the Ten Year Energy and Environment Cooperation, signed in June, 2008. The statement of cooperation calls for bilateral action on clean and efficient electricity production, clean water and clean air, clean and efficient transportation, and the conservation of forests and wetlands.

The memorandum further states that "the United States and China will work together to further promote the full, effective and sustained implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change."

The UN Framework Convention, adopted in 1994 and ratified by 192 countries, served as a precursor of the Kyoto Protocol. Under the Convention, governments agreed to share information on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, enact strategies for addressing GHG emissions, and cooperate in adapting to climate change.


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