U.S. Expects Less from China

Last week a U.S. delegation meet in Beijing with Chinese officials to talk about the next climate change treaty. Dr. Jonathan Pershing, head of the U.S. delegation, said that developed countries “would take additional action in line with their historical responsibility and capacity,” than developing countries.

“Our intention is to get an agreement we can bring home and have ratified, and we’re pretty optimistic about that,” Pershing said. “US engagement has changed the dynamic of the conversation here. That’s the kind of shift the world community has been waiting for.”

Todd Stern said that China is not expected to “take a national cap at this stage.” The U.S is instead expecting China to continue its efforts to increase energy efficiency and develop renewable energy, “so that China’s emissions can grow slower and start to come down eventually.”

“We understand China's paramount need to grow and develop for its people,” Stern said. “Our demand is that the development, with the available technologies, is based on low-carbon growth.”

Daniel Dudek, chief economist with the Environmental Defense Fund, said, “People, I think, are really trying to understand the negotiating territory and what is in the art of the possible between the two nations," Dudek told China Daily. He added that the U.S. may eventually expect more from China.

The Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqianq told Stern during their meeting, “China has noticed the change of the U.S. government on climate change as well as the positive measures it has taken.”

Stern spoke on June 3 at the Center for American Progress. During the speech he made it clear that reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will not be possible “if we don’t find a way forward with China.”

Stern made it clear that developing countries, including China, will “do not need to take the same actions that developed countries are taking, but they do need to take significant national actions that… are ambitious enough to be broadly consistent with the lessons of science.”

Watch the video of Stern's speech:


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