Many, many contentious issues divide China and the United States, among them territorial disputes, human rights, and cybersecurity. But there is one hugely important issue where they do agree–fighting climate change. This alliance, forged through great effort under Presidents Obama and Xi Jinping, led the world to sign the momentous Paris agreement this year.
But president-elect Donald Trump has called climate change a hoax perpetrated by China, has promised to pull out of the Paris accord and dismantle Obama’s Clean Power Plan. This plan would cut America’s carbon footprint, shift our dependence from fossil fuels to renewable energy as a greater source of power and jobs, and boost our energy security.
Our mission at the Alliance, to fight climate change by working with China and the U.S. to save energy, has never been more important. We intend to redouble our efforts to connect stakeholders, inform you, and promote energy efficiency in both countries. It’s not going to happen under the incoming Administration, so it will be up to the Alliance, other non-governmental organizations and the private sector to forge ahead. China will continue its fight on climate change whether the U.S. does or not. (For more on this, see the latest blog of NRDC colleagues Barbara Finamore and Alvin Lin.) It will be China’s gain to fight climate change–environmentally and economically–and our loss. And the world’s since carbon emissions don’t recognize borders.
Last week, the morning after the election, the Alliance hosted a panel of six eminent experts on “The Utility of the Future in the U.S. and China.” We were all reeling from the election results. But we carried on and the information exchanged and connections made were most valuable. The opportunities for energy efficiency in both countries are enormous. Whatever your politics, energy efficiency can save money. As I write, the Trump Administration has named a climate denier to head the transition team at EPA.
We are rollin’ up our sleeves. Join us.