US, China agree to end 'super greenhouse gases'

Jun 08, 2013
US President Barack Obama (R) and Chinese President Xi Jinping take a walk at the Annenberg Retreat in Rancho Mirage, California, on June 8, 2013. As part of their talks, China agreed Saturday with the United States to scale back production of "super greenhouse gases" used in refrigerators and air conditioners in a joint bid to fight climate change.

China agreed Saturday with the United States to scale back production of "super greenhouse gases" used in refrigerators and air conditioners in a joint bid to fight climate change.

The two nations made the pledge after a closely watched first summit between Presidents and Xi Jinping, who lead the world's top two emitters of greenhouse gases blamed for the planet's increasingly volatile climate.

In a statement, China and the United States "agreed to work together" through an international body to "phase down the production and consumption" of hydrofluorocarbons (), dubbed super greenhouse gases for their pollution.

The White House said that a global phasedown of HFCs could reduce carbon emissions by 90 gigatons by 2050—equivalent to around two full years worth of the world's .

China—by far the largest producer of HFCs—had until recently resisted efforts by the United States and other to scale back the super , arguing that alternatives in appliances were not fully ready.

But China agreed in April to end HFC production by 2030 as part of a $385 million assistance package by wealthy countries under the , which was set up to fight the depletion of the ozone layer.

A thermal power plant discharges heavy smog into the air in Changchun, China, on January 22, 2013. China agreed Saturday with the United States to scale back production of "super greenhouse gases" used in refrigerators and air conditioners in a joint bid to fight climate change.

China and other such as India had initially argued that the Montreal Protocol was not the best instrument to target HFCs and that the issue should instead by handled under the on climate change.

Some critics accused China of holding off on ending HFC production as it wanted to keep the flow of money from European Union nations that can earn credits for carbon emissions by cleaning up dirty production overseas.

The US-China statement made clear that HFCs would remain within the scope of the Kyoto Protocol and the related "for accounting and reporting of emissions."

The statement said that China and the United States would work together at the Montreal Protocol.

The United States, Canada and Mexico—along with Micronesia, which greatly fears rising sea levels from climate change—have proposed a global end to HFCs through the Montreal Protocol.

The United States and China—which together account for more than 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions—have both faced international criticism for not doing more on climate change.

China has embraced solar and other green technologies, but has resisted binding commitments in talks on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, arguing that such requirements were unfair considering its stage of development.

But China has witnessed a growing debate on requiring curbs on emissions—not just a commitment to scale back the intensify of its own emissions, as per current policy—as concern rises over the country's pollution woes.

Obama took office in 2009 vowing to do more on climate change after the skepticism of his predecessor George W. Bush.

But efforts backed by Obama to require caps on died in the US Congress, where many lawmakers from the rival Republican Party question the cost of such action and question the science behind climate change.

The planet has charted a slew of record hot years and some scientists link recent catastrophes—such as superstorm Sandy in the United States, droughts in Russia and massive floods in Pakistan—to climate change.

Explore further: Spain defends Canaries oil drilling plan

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China to call for Kyoto extension at climate talks

Nov 22, 2011

China, the world's top greenhouse gas emitter, said Tuesday it will push at next week's climate talks for an extension of the Kyoto Protocol, which requires rich nations to reduce their emissions.

New Zealand won't sign 'Kyoto 2' climate treaty

Nov 09, 2012

(AP)—New Zealand's government said Friday that it would not sign on for a second stage of the Kyoto Protocol climate treaty, a stance that angered environmentalists and political opponents.

US greenhouse gases back up after decline

Apr 16, 2012

US emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for climate change rose in 2010, ending a brief downward turn as the world's largest economy gradually recovers from recession, official data showed Monday.

UN conference adopts extension of Kyoto accord

Dec 09, 2012

(AP)—A U.N. climate conference agreed Saturday to extend the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty that limits the greenhouse gas output of some rich countries but which will only cover about 15 percent of global emissions.

Recommended for you

Study shows no lead pollution in oilsands region

20 hours ago

New research from a world-renowned soil and water expert at the University of Alberta reveals that there's no atmospheric lead pollution in Alberta's oilsands region—a finding that contradicts current scientific ...

User comments : 7

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

casualjoe
1.3 / 5 (3) Jun 09, 2013
China has embraced solar and other green technologies, but has resisted binding commitments in talks on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, arguing that such requirements were unfair considering its stage of development.


It's not unfair when considering the technology and scientific knowledge China has access to, to aid the sustainable development of their country compared to say, America in the 19th centuary, They get to leapfrog all the naive mistakes, the have hindsight, what more does a developing country need?
freeiam
3 / 5 (6) Jun 09, 2013
Strange enough: this actually makes sense.
ScooterG
1.3 / 5 (12) Jun 09, 2013
"as part of a $385 million assistance package by wealthy countries"

Is the USA, with its' $17,000,000,000,000 debt, considered one of the "wealthy countries"?

Things are askew when wealth is determined by how much money you were able to borrow. Just remember - credit is risky business.
VendicarE
4.3 / 5 (11) Jun 09, 2013
ScooTard thinks that Uncle Sam is a deadbeat.

Never forget that it was a Libertarian/Republican plan to bankrupt him to prevent him from living spending his money on things they didn't approve of.

The Repubican/Libertarian plan to bankrupt America has a name. It is called "Starve the Beast"

Look it up.

Here is Libertarian/Republican Jeb Bush commenting on the Plan.

"We must manufacture an (economic) crisis in order to assure that there is no alternative to a smaller government." - Imprimus magazine 1995

deepsand
3.6 / 5 (14) Jun 11, 2013
China has embraced solar and other green technologies, but has resisted binding commitments in talks on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, arguing that such requirements were unfair considering its stage of development.


It's not unfair when considering the technology and scientific knowledge China has access to, to aid the sustainable development of their country compared to say, America in the 19th centuary, They get to leapfrog all the naive mistakes, the have hindsight, what more does a developing country need?

You seem to have overlooked the fact that China's emmisions of GHGs are so high owing to the fact that
Europe and the US expatriated their smokestack industries to China, so as to both gain cheaper labor costs and reduce their own reportable levels of pollutants.

In short, China is a big polluter because the West made it one.
casualjoe
5 / 5 (6) Jun 11, 2013
You make a very good point there deepsand, this is [another] one of the wests naive mistakes, I guess the world seemed much larger back in the 70s when consumerism started really taking off. After 40 years of access to all the cheap plastic perfume products we could dream of, we're kind of realising that it's all just bullsh*t and i'm starting to see a [slow] transition to frugality occurring within our culture.

But now the fresh faced, highly consumerist, Chinese middle class still see the glitzy products on offer as their route to happiness and I fear it may take another 40 years of rampant consumerism until they've gorged themselves out on Prada bollocks.

Maybe I haven't got the whole picture but I hoped growth in China would bring out an ancient wisdom among their people, so they could teach us a thing or two about the important things in life, but instead they're becoming just like power dressing business types of the 80s. Western advertising techniques don't help this much.
deepsand
3.5 / 5 (11) Jun 12, 2013
But now the fresh faced, highly consumerist, Chinese middle class still see the glitzy products on offer as their route to happiness and I fear it may take another 40 years of rampant consumerism until they've gorged themselves out on Prada bollocks

Indeed. Now that China has the manufacturing capability to employ its ever growing population, it needs to grow domestic demand so as to be less dependent of that of the West.

Just imagine the internal demand for hydrocarbon based products there will be once automobiles become widely affordable in China.