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China-U.S. And Climate Change

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President Barack Obama says the United States and China will work together toward a successful outcome to the December 7-18 climate change summit in Copenhagen and in support of Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's call for a comprehensive operational accord.

"As the two largest consumers and producers of energy, there can be no solution to this challenge without the efforts of both China and the United States," said President Obama in a joint statement November 17 with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing.

President Obama said he and President Hu made progress during their talks on the climate change issue. Along with a series of ambitious joint initiatives on clean energy and energy efficiency, China and the United States agreed to work together to make the Copenhagen conference a success.

"Our aim there, in support of what Prime Minister Rasmussen of Denmark is trying to achieve, is not a partial accord or a political declaration, but rather an accord that covers all of the issues in the negotiations, and one that has immediate operational effect," said President Obama. "This kind of comprehensive agreement would be an important step forward in the effort to rally the world around a solution to our climate challenge. And we agreed that each of us would take significant mitigation actions and stand behind these commitments."

In a November 17 joint statement issued by the two governments, they recognized that climate change is "one of the greatest challenges of our time" and "vigorous response is necessary." The statement affirms, "International cooperation is indispensable in responding to this challenge."

China and the United States "consistent with their national circumstances," resolved to "take significant mitigation actions" and "recognized the important role that their countries play in promoting a sustainable outcome that will strengthen the world's ability to combat climate change."

An agreement, while taking into account the different responsibilities and capabilities within the global community, should be transparent, the joint statement notes, and "include emission reduction targets of developed countries and nationally appropriate mitigation actions of developing countries." An agreement should also substantially increase financial assistance to developing countries, promote the development of clean energy technologies, and pay particular attention to those most vulnerable to climate change.