When The Biggest Polluters Lead on Climate, Others Will Follow

“What about China?” is a common refrain when Oregonians talk about tackling climate change. “If not them, why us?”

It’s time for the question to change. The United States and China–the world’s top two emitters of climate pollution–are taking the reigns on a unique opportunity to lead on climate.

Last November, the US and China made a joint announcement on climate change targets. This set the stage for President Obama to submit US targets in international climate negotiations. The President outlined how the US plans to cut climate pollution to 26-28% below its 2005 levels by 2025 by freezing construction of new coal-fired power plants, increasing vehicle fuel efficiency and plugging methane leaks from oil and gas production (among many other promising developments).

China, a full partner in this action, will cap its emissions by 2030 and transition to 20 percent renewable power. This agreement is the first time China has committed to limit its greenhouse gas emissions.

These steps are part of a major effort to transition to a clean, renewable energy economy – while sticking to the goal of no more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit temperature increase. With the world’s top two emitters agreeing on targets now, other countries will are likely to commit this year to taking ambitious actions on climate.

Want to learn more about this historic agreement and the business opportunities it will create in the northwest? Join us at the 5th annual Oregon-China Economic Forum this Thursday at the University Club.

The Oregon-China Economic Forum–sponsored in part by the Oregon Environmental Council–is free and open to the public, and will take place from 5:00-6:30pm at the University Club Fireside Room (1225 SW 6th Avenue, Portland). Experts from China and the US will present on the plan’s impacts and potential business opportunities. Prior to the forum, participants are also invited to a reception at 4pm in the same location as the forum. A full line-up for the forum can be found here. The panel will include a discussion on new market creation and trade opportunities for Pacific Northwest companies featuring speakers from Business Oregon.

The genesis for these sweeping actions began back in November, when Presidents Obama and Xi made clear the importance of strengthening bilateral cooperation on climate and committed to adopt post-2020 actions to curb their country’s emissions. In addition to establishing collective climate pollution reduction targets, China and the US have established the US-China Climate Change Working Group to advance vehicles and energy efficiency, smart grids, greenhouse gas data management, forests and industrial boilers, as well as the capture, utilization and storage of carbon. They have also created a US/China Clean Energy Research Center focused on carbon capture and storage, and are working together to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs.)

We hope you will join us this Thursday for an exciting international perspective on climate progress.

5th Oregon-China Economic Forum
“The US-China Climate Agreement: Its Implications for the Pacific Northwest”
Thursday, April 2, 2015
Reception: 4:00-5:00pm
Forum: 5:00-6:30pm
Location: University Club Fireside Room, 1225 SW 6th Avenue, Portland
Free and open to the public
Please RSVP to Ellen Sawo ellensawo@gmail.com

Photo: Solar PV power generation in Hong Kong. Credit: Wikipedia

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