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March 6, 2018

Responding To: U.S.-China Climate Cooperation Leading up to the Paris Agreement

Understanding Collaboration Behind the Paris Agreement

Hao Min

U.S.-China collaboration on climate change has made remarkable achievements in the past years. In 2015, we successfully signed the Paris Agreement. What lies behind that are efforts made by China and the United States with utmost sincerity as well as great compromise. The whole world could see this. In addition, we have also made changes that cannot be seen directly. An understanding, in both China and the United States, of the impact and danger of climate change on the global environment and human society has evolved greatly in recent years. Each individual and each country should do whatever they can in response to slow down the changes. We should all shoulder our own responsibility to reduce unfavourable factors as much as possible. I can see this notion is already taking place in China and the United States. Therefore, Sino-U.S. cooperation in promoting climate change is not just the birth of an international and binding treaty. It is the guiding document for the latest global cooperation in climate change, as well as a driving force for media broadcast and government policies. The whole process is very meaningful – it could enable the nation as well as its people to be aware of the danger of climate change, so that they can realize their own responsibilities. Although the U.S. government is now withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, the notice of withdrawal will not take effect until a year later. During this time, state governments, industries and businesses are still very supportive of climate change related responses. In China, aspects such as tackling climate change, slowing down the process of global warming, promoting the use of clean energy, environmental protection as well as sustainable development are all reflected in the report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which took place in 2017. The will and determination of the Chinese government in addressing climate change has not lessened, if anything, it is stronger. In the United States, I believe that the efforts of local governments and the business industry cannot be neglected. They are indeed playing important roles.

Hao Min is the vice dean of the Department of International Politics at the University of International Relations in Beijing. She is a participant in the Initiative for U.S. -China Dialogue on Global Issues faculty research group on climate change. 

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