Dec. 2 --The Environmental Protection Agency hopes to
use its existing relationship with Chinese air pollution officials to find ways
to address climate change when EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy visits China the
week of Dec. 9.
The U.S. and China represent the two largest global
economies, the largest energy consumers and the largest carbon emitters, and
the two countries must work together to address pollution, particularly
greenhouse gases, McCarthy said during a Dec. 2 speech at the Center for
China and the U.S. need to take a lead to address
climate change as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change looks toward
negotiating a global climate agreement to be finalized in 2015, McCarthy
“In a 2015 world, the two largest emitters of the greenhouse
gases need to be at the table, and it's extremely important that China be with
us and be aggressive and be supportive of establishing some goals we can all
be proud of,” she said.
McCarthy said the EPA has worked with China's Ministry of Environmental
Protection on air quality issues for the past 15 years, and she hopes to build
on that relationship to address climate change.
“They have established
some very ambitious goals, not only for air quality but also for climate,” she
EPA and China have cooperated on initiatives to curb particulate
matter and to provide real-time air quality data to Beijing. That has created
opportunities to discuss means to reduce carbon dioxide in China, which relies
heavily on coal in its electricity and manufacturing sectors and for some
residential heat and cook stoves, McCarthy said.
“Their challenge is
broad and deep in terms of what they're going to be doing in their cities,”
McCarthy said the
EPA and China have already discussed methods to reduce emissions of
short-lived climate pollutants such as methane, hydrofluorocarbons and black
The U.S. and China in September agreed to pursue amendments to
the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer to reduce the
production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a short-lived but
potent greenhouse gas .
That pledge built on a June 8 agreement between
President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping to phase down HFC
McCarthy said HFCs are the one greenhouse gas whose emissions
are increasing globally. HFCs are commonly used as refrigerants and were
intended to replace chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons
(HCFCs), which are already being phased out under the Montreal Protocol.
India's cooperation will also be necessary to reduce HFC emissions, she
The EPA and China also are looking
at ways to reduce the allowable sulfur content of diesel engines, a
significant source of black carbon.
While the U.S. currently caps the
amount of sulfur allowable in diesel fuel at 15 parts per million, China allows
up to 10 times that amount in its diesel fuel, McCarthy said. She said the
agency will discuss methods to reduce the sulfur content of fuels used by
highway vehicles, heavy-duty engines and marine diesel engines.
To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Childers in Washington
To contact the editor
responsible for this story: Larry Pearl in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To view additional stories from International Environment
Reporter™ register for a free trial now