The United States and China announced renewed commitment to enhance cooperation to address the climate crisis in the Sunnylands Statement released on November 14, 2023 (the Statement). Both countries indicated their commitment to the effective implementation of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, including the Glasgow Climate Pact and the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan, and to further the effective and sustained implementation of the U.S.-China Joint Statement Addressing the Climate Crisis and the U.S.-China Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s.
This bulletin provides key details of the new and renewed commitments in the Statement.
COP 28. The countries indicated that the consensus Global Stocktake decision expected to come out of COP 28 should, among other things:
- reflect that substantially more ambition and implementation on action and support will be needed to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goals;
- send signals with respect to the energy transition (renewable energy, coal/oil/gas), carbon sinks including forests, non-CO2 greenhouse gases (GHGs) including methane, and low-carbon technologies;
- encourage economy-wide 2035 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) covering all GHGs;
- note the expectation of developed countries that the $100B climate finance goal will be met in 2023;
- welcome the recommendations of the Transitional Committee with respect to establishing funding arrangements to address loss and damage, including the establishment of a fund; and
- emphasize the important role of international cooperation.
2035 NDCs. The U.S. and China both affirmed that their 2035 NDCs under the Paris Agreement will be economy-wide, include all GHGs, and reflect emission reductions aligned with the Paris Agreement temperature goals.
Energy Transition. The Statement provides important commitments related to the energy transition, including:
- support for the G20 Leaders Declaration to pursue efforts to triple renewable energy capacity globally by 2030 and sufficiently accelerate renewable energy deployment through 2030 from 2020 levels to accelerate the substitution for coal, oil and gas generation, and thereby anticipate post-peaking meaningful absolute power sector emission reduction by 2030;
- restarting the U.S.-China Energy Efficiency Forum to deepen policy exchanges on energy-saving and carbon-reducing solutions; and
- advancing at least five large-scale cooperative CCUS projects each by 2030, including from industrial and energy sources.
Methane and Other Non-CO2 GHG Emissions. The Statement provides that China and the U.S. will continue to support reducing methane and other GHG emissions by taking the following actions:
- implement their respective national methane action plans and elaborate further measures;
- immediately initiate technical working group cooperation on policy dialogue, technical solutions exchanges, and capacity building, building on their respective national methane action plans to develop their respective methane reduction actions and targets for inclusion in their 2035 NDCs, and support each country’s methane reduction and control progress;
- cooperate on respective measures to manage nitrous oxide emissions; and
- work together under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
The United States and China, with the United Arab Emirates, are expected to host a Methane and Non-CO2 Greenhouse Gases Summit at COP 28.
Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency. The U.S. and China made the following commitments to support the circular economy and resource efficiency:
- conduct a policy dialogue with relevant government agencies on developing the circular economy and resource efficiency in addressing the climate crisis; and
- end plastic pollution by working together and with others to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.
Subnational Cooperation. The Statement provides important support for subnational cooperation, including:
- supporting climate cooperation among states, provinces, and cities with regard to areas such as power, transportation, buildings, and waste. China and the U.S. indicated that they would facilitate subnational governments, enterprises, think tanks, and other stakeholders to actively participate in cooperation; and
- holding a high-level event on subnational climate action in the first half of 2024.
Forests. The two countries committed to advance efforts to halt and reverse forest loss by 2030. This commitment is expected to include fully implementing and effectively enforcing, through regulation and policy, their respective laws on banning illegal imports.
GHG and Air Pollutant Reduction Synergy. Both countries indicated their willingness to cooperate in promoting relevant policies and measures and the deployment of technologies to enhance synergy of controlling GHG emissions and air pollutants.