Larsen: U.S.-China Climate Change Efforts Poised To Be Historical Achievement

Sep 25, 2015 Issues: Energy, Climate Change

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, today praised the joint announcement from President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping to expand the efforts of both countries to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Larsen has pointed to the two countries’ joint efforts to combat climate change as a critical precursor to a successful U.N. climate agreement in Paris in December.

During Xi’s first official state visit to the U.S., the two presidents today built on the joint climate change agreement from last November. China will implement a cap-and-trade system to incentivize reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, as well as starting a system that will prioritize power that comes from renewable sources. The U.S. will move forward to implement the Clean Power Plan in 2016.

“U.S.-China relations are in a phase of hope and hurdles, and our climate change efforts fall under the heading of hope. The world’s two biggest economies must lead by example, and today’s announcement from Presidents Obama and Xi shows the U.S. and China continue to be serious about decreasing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

“In a meeting with President Xi earlier this week in Seattle, I told him he would hear that China was not doing enough to show progress on its climate change efforts. His announcement that China will set up a market-based cap-and-trade system to bring down its emissions is a strong statement about the country’s commitment to mitigating the effects of climate change, as well as improving the horrible air pollution plaguing the Chinese people.

“The U.S. and China’s joint action also paves a smoother way to the United Nations climate change conference in Paris in December. Other countries, and even voices within our own country, have cited China's refusal to adopt greenhouse gas reductions as an excuse not to start their own efforts.  That excuse is now gone.

“Bringing together dozens of countries to agree on making difficult changes to their energy usage is a steep hill to climb, but this deal makes it more surmountable.

“Carrying out environmental reforms of this magnitude will require both countries to increase their investment in clean energy technology, setting the stage for broader trade in environmental goods and services that will create jobs here at home. U.S. companies and the workers who make a living from the jobs at companies manufacturing green technology are ready, willing and able to provide the services and make the products that grow our economy here at home while helping China achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gases.

“Working together to fight a defining challenge facing our world could be one of the most substantial environmental achievements in world history,” Larsen said.