The climate deal between China and the US came under heavy criticism even before the ink of the signatures was dry. Despite those misgivings, China expert Sara Hsu sees some steps forward, she writes in The Diplomat.
China has driven down the costs of renewable energy, particularly in the production of solar cells. China has also been investing heavily in its renewable energy supply structure, and currently has the largest renewable energy capacity in the world. The State Grid Corporation of China is working to integrate wind and solar-photovoltaic generation and storage devices into the main grid, and other efforts promise continuing strides in renewable capacity expansion.
Some analysts’ responses to this climate agreement have not focused on China’s renewable energy pledge, and therefore have been quite negative, stating that China has an easy task since it has until 2030 to peak on emissions. This goal may be less stringent than the policy implemented in the U.S., but certainly the other half of the promise to increase renewable energy sources to 20 percent of energy consumption will pose a sufficient challenge. It is also worth keeping in mind that this agreement was not meant to represent a ceiling on climate change policies but rather a floor. As John Kerry wrote in his November 12 New York Times op-ed that “there is no question that all of us will need to do more to push toward the de-carbonization of the global economy. But in climate diplomacy …you have to start at the beginning, and this breakthrough marks a fresh beginning.”
Certainly, the collaboration on research and execution described in the U.S.-China agreement will help improve the climate change outlook. The agreement expands the commitment to the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, advances carbon capture, facilitates collaboration on phasing out hydrocarbons, establishes a low-carbon cities initiative, promotes trade in green technology goods, and initiates pilot programs in green energy use. These efforts move both nations in the right direction and represent clear strides toward intervening in the progression of climate change. China surely is making concerted attempts to secure our shared global future.
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