Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

China and UK Join Forces on Climate Change Agreement

Climate
China and UK Join Forces on Climate Change Agreement

The significance of solidarity on climate change grows as the next year's international climate conference in Paris nears. That's one of several reasons why a climate agreement between two countries announced Tuesday meant so much.

For the first time, China and the United Kingdom issued a joint statement declaring the importance of climate change action and a promise to work together on cutting back on fossil-fuel burning and making other "low-carbon transitions."

Chinese and British officials agree that global solidarity on climate action is a must. Photo credit: Number 10/Flickr/Responding to Climate Change

"Both sides recognize that climate change and air pollution share many of the same root causes, as well as many of the same solutions. This constitutes an urgent call to action," the statement reads.

The countries agree with the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's assessment that fossil fuel divestment must begin now, along with reversing human activity that accelerates greenhouse gas emissions.

"The UK has the diplomatic muscle to help build a consensus on an ambitious global deal on climate change that includes big players like China and the USA, but that won't happen unless political leaders at the highest level get stuck in," Ben Stafford, head of public affairs at wildlife charity World Wildlife Fund-UK, said, according to the Huffington Post.

"[Tuesday's] joint summit was a step in the right direction. The next step is for the Prime Minister to join other world leaders at the UN secretary general's climate summit in September and demonstrate that climate change is as big a priority for him, and the UK, as it was when he became party leader."

On the economic front, the nations announced a few developments surrounding their agreement:

  • The UK and China are both engaged in the New Climate Economy project, an international study on the economics of climate change, with findings to be published later this year.

  • The UK and China have launched a joint, $34 million research program on low-carbon innovation, including work on offshore renewables, low-carbon manufacturing processes and technologies and low-carbon cities. This builds on strong existing bilateral energy research co-operation in fields including electric vehicles, smart grids, cleaner fossil fuels and energy storage, according to the agreement.

  • Last year, the UK and China signed a memorandum of understanding on offshore wind. The companies say this is leading to new policy collaboration to help commercial deployment. 

"It's heartening to hear the UK and Chinese governments agreeing on the urgency and importance of climate change policy, helping to build momentum towards a new global climate deal in Paris in 2015," Ruth Davis, a political advisor to Greenpeace UK, said. "It's also clear that for China, reducing crippling air pollution and addressing climate change go hand in hand. But whilst China plans new measures to cap coal use and massively boost investment in clean technologies, the UK Government is stubbornly refusing to regulate our aging coal plants, risking both our respiratory health and our climate change commitments.

"It's the 21st century—we need to wake up and call time on the world's dirtiest fuel."

Trump's Affordable Clean Energy rule eliminated a provision mandating that utilities move away from coal. VisionsofAmerica /Joe Sohm / Getty Images

A federal court on Tuesday struck down the Trump administration's rollback of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A wild mink in Utah was the first wild animal in the U.S. found with COVID-19. Peter Trimming via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA

By Jonathan Runstadler and Kaitlin Sawatzki

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have found coronavirus infections in pet cats and dogs and in multiple zoo animals, including big cats and gorillas. These infections have even happened when staff were using personal protective equipment.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A mass methane release could begin an irreversible path to full land-ice melt. NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty Images

By Peter Giger

The speed and scale of the response to COVID-19 by governments, businesses and individuals seems to provide hope that we can react to the climate change crisis in a similarly decisive manner - but history tells us that humans do not react to slow-moving and distant threats.

Read More Show Less
Doug Emhoff, U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and President-elect Joe Biden wave as they arrive on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By John R. Platt

The period of the 45th presidency will go down as dark days for the United States — not just for the violent insurgency and impeachment that capped off Donald Trump's four years in office, but for every regressive action that came before.

Read More Show Less
A hazy Seattle skyline due to wildfire smoke is seen on September 11, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. Lindsey Wasson / Getty Images

Washington state residents are taking climate matters into their own hands. Beginning this month, 90 members of the public join the country's first climate assembly to develop pollution solutions, Crosscut reported.

Read More Show Less