China and the US join forces on climate change

UNEP

News Feature: Urgent global action needed now

The United States and China have joined forces in an attempt to rally the world into action on climate change.

The presidents of both countries reached out to each other after the World Economic Forum in Davos to discuss ways of cutting emissions and fighting climate change.

It’s an unusual move that reflects the mistrust between Washington and Beijing and the potential influence a collaborative force might have.

We spoke to senior Climate Change Attaché in Beijing, Chen Meng, about what’s behind this move.

Barry Neild is based in the Bahamas and is the host of Issues For Tomorrow.

Global development editor Tracy Sawyer is based in Miami.

Tracy Sawyer in Miami

Watch our accompanying report for more.

Extracts

“So climate change, of course, is something that has been a foreign policy issue for the United States.

“I guess one of the things we can’t ignore, though, is that China is a big carbon polluter.

“There is this situation where China and the United States together are consuming half of the carbon dioxide the planet is generating and that’s really not going to change, but the longer we wait the less likely it is that we will get a meaningful global agreement, because so much of the world’s carbon emissions are still generated in the developing world.

“You really can’t do a serious climate change deal without China on board. And when we talk about doing something on the carbon emissions, it’s important to have the most important economies on board.”

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