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John Kerry speaking in Capitol rotunda.
Secretary of State John Kerry
It's an indication of how urgent the issue of climate change has become that the two largest global greenhouse gas emitters, whose total emissions exceed 40 percent of the global total, are cautiously coming together in cooperation to advance some climate change mitigation action.

On Wednesday, the U.S. and China agreed to extend cooperation to curb climate change to five new initiatives, including reducing emissions from heavy trucks, which are a significant cause of greenhouse gas emissions in both countries.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke before the announcement:

"I want to underscore that when we make a decision … it ripples beyond our borders," Kerry said. "How will we curb climate change? How will we pioneer new energy technology that is in fact the solution to climate change?" Kerry said in his opening remarks at the fifth annual US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

[...]

"Recognising the importance of working through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United States and China are committed to enhancing our policy dialogue on all aspects of the future agreement," the fact sheet said.

That spirit of co-operation represents a drastic change from the calamitous Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, when diplomatic snubs and general distrust between the two countries wrecked any prospect for a deal. The State Department climate envoy, Todd Stern, told reporters he thought the initiative would help efforts to reach a deal by 2015.

A list of the five initiatives from the State Department:

   . Develop projects to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

   . Reduce vehicle emissions, particularly from large trucks, by strengthening efficiency standards and developing more efficient vehicles and cleaner fuels.

   . Increase energy efficiency, first in buildings but also in transportation and industry.

   . Improve greenhouse gas data collection and management.

   . Promote smart grids through collaborative projects.

Wednesday's announcement follows the U.S. and China's agreement in June to work together and with other countries to use the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), among other forms of multilateral cooperation. A global phase down of HFCs could potentially reduce some 90 gigatons of CO2 equivalent by 2050, equal to roughly two years worth of current global greenhouse gas emissions.

In spite of the distrust and cautiousness apparent in leadership of both countries, they each recognize that there must be cooperation to mitigate the unprecedented global challenge presented by climate change.

Originally posted to beach babe in fl on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 11:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS.

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