US and Chinese cities to take joint action on cutting GHGs

Chinese and US cities sign GHG emission reduction pacts that will give further substance to last year's landmark agreement between the two countries

Cities and local governments in China and the US on Tuesday agreed deeper and faster pledges to limit their greenhouse gas emissions aimed at helping the countries deliver on the landmark agreement signed at the national level last year.

China’s special representative for climate change, Xie Zhenhua, and US lead negotiator Todd Stern were among the people present at the signing of the Climate Leaders Declaration at a summit in Los Angeles. 
Several Chinese cities, including Beijing and Guangzhou, committed to peak carbon dioxide emissions by the end or around 2020, 10 years earlier than the national target.
Shenzhen and Wuhan pledged to peak emissions by 2022 and Guiyang by 2025.
The Chinese cities and provinces making commitments emit approximately 1.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, about 25% of China’s urban total. The total is roughly the same volume of CO2 emitted by Japan or Brazil, according to a US government factsheet released ahead of the Los Angeles meeting.  

The Chinese and US cities intend to regularly report on GHG emissions, establish action plans and step up bilateral cooperation – the first such agreement at the sub-national level between the two countries.

“The commitment of so many of its largest cities to early peaking highlights China’s resolve to take comprehensive action across all levels of government to achieve its national target,” the fact sheet said.
US cities, counties and states also proposed comprehensive long-term reduction targets. These goals included a commitment from California to cut emissions by 80%-90% below 1990 levels by 2050, and an undertaking from Seattle to become carbon-neutral by 2050, producing no net GHGs.

Bilateral Initiatives

The agreement will also try to foster mutual understanding of carbon markets through a tie-up between the China Beijing Environment Exchange, the Climate Registry, the Climate Action Reserve and the Innovation Center for Energy and Transportation.
The aim of the link up is to design and implement carbon market training programmes in China, and help encourage the use of California’s zero-emission vehicle credit trading mechanism in Beijing 
The joint-effort will also involve several bilateral initiatives designed to help both countries meet their climate goals, including the California-China Urban Climate Collaborative (CCUCC), which seeks to reduce CO2 and air pollution and connect cleantech industries based in the cities.
In a separate strand of co-operation, Shenzhen and Los Angeles will share experiences in reducing emissions, especially in the construction of green buildings and from vessels visiting their respective ports.  
“The summit provides an opportunity for local leaders to exchange their experience of practice and learn from each other,” Xie said at a press conference after the opening ceremony.
US cities and states that signed the declaration include: Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Connecticut, Portland, Seattle, Houston, Miami-Dade County, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.
The full list of the Chinese cities that signed the agreeement are: Beijing, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Sichuan, Hainan, Guiyang, Zhenjiang, Jinchang, Yanan and Jilin.