Secretary of State
September 3, 2016
Today the United States and China demonstrated their continued, shared commitment to climate leadership when, on the margins of the G-20 Leaders’ Summit in Hangzhou, China, President Obama and President Xi deposited each country’s official instrument to formally join the Paris Agreement reached last December. Our two nations are the world’s largest economies – and its largest greenhouse gas emitters; as we have seen in the past, when we come together to take action on climate, it moves the needle in a way that no two other nations can accomplish. With both countries taking this important step forward, today the world comes significantly closer to bringing the Paris Agreement into force and honoring its commitment to future generations to address the dangerous impacts of climate change. And as someone who has spent nearly three decades focused on climate change, I was enormously proud to join President Obama in Hangzhou for this historic moment.
In recent years, the United States and China have made climate change cooperation a pillar of our bilateral relationship. Both nations have taken strong measures to build low-carbon, climate-resilient economies domestically and internationally – and much of that shared progress is thanks to the comprehensive cooperation and dialogue we have established.
But the world is still a long way from where we need to be. To prevent the worst impacts of climate change from happening, it is essential for the Paris Agreement to enter into force as quickly as possible. Both the United States and China strongly urge others to join the Agreement as soon as they are able, in hopes of meeting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s goal of bringing it into force this year. The urgency of this challenge is clear, and it is critical that global efforts mode forward without delay.
The United States and China also committed today to working together and with other countries to achieve successful climate outcomes this year by adopting an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbons, and approving a global market-based measure for addressing carbon emissions from international aviation. Achieving these important actions this year will help the world reach the ambitious goals we set in Paris. And it would send a clear signal to all sectors that the global momentum to tackle climate change is only building.