Confronting the global climate crisis requires a collective effort, and, as the world's largest economies and greenhouse gas emitters, the United States and China have a crucial role to play. In November 2021, at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's COP26 summit in Scotland, the two countries agreed to the historic U.S.-China Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s. While the statement did not include substantial new commitments, it nevertheless demonstrated a constructive willingness to accelerate and enhance action on climate change from both nations.

In fact, in the Joint Declaration, both countries acknowledged “a significant gap” between current efforts to address the global climate crisis and those that need to be taken to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, stressing “the vital importance of closing that gap as soon as possible, particularly through stepped-up efforts.” Notably, the U.S. and China also committed to “seizing this critical moment to engage in expanded individual and combined efforts to accelerate the transition to a global net zero economy.”

In response to the Joint Declaration, The California-China Climate Institute - in collaboration with a wide-array of other organizations - brought together a group of U.S. and China climate experts to assess opportunities for both nations to tackle key issues, including, on: power sector decarbonization, methane emissions, illegal deforestation, industrial decarbonization, green shipping and aviation, food waste and fertilizer efficiency, building decarbonization, zero-emission vehicle deployment, and subnational cooperation.

The resulting series outlines both the individual and collaborative efforts that the U.S. and China can undertake to address these pressing climate challenges.