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The United States and China are heavy hitters when it comes to the global economy, politics, and air pollution. The two nations account for a 43 percent of greenhouse gas emissions through the burning of coal, vehicle exhaust and commercial chemicals. This week, China and the US agreed to five initiatives that would help to cut emissions that contribute to global warming. The working group, which was formed in April, will collaborate with NGOs to develop projects by October aimed at collecting climate data, improving grid efficiency, and promoting renewable energy.

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State Department head John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew welcomed State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Vice Premier Wang Yang for the two-day talks . While the pledges are not binding, both governments hope that the negotiations will be an impetus to curbing climate change and drafting a treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol by 2015.

“On the one hand it’s not suddenly going to transform the negotiations, I’m absolutely not saying that, but … it will project something positive that I think will be helpful,” U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern.

One of the goals discussed during the meeting was the possibility of capturing carbon released from coal fire plants and burying it underground. Representatives said that they hope to move from research to demonstration projects utilizing the sequestration technology. Other topics included phasing out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which were used as a replacement for ozone-depleting chemicals.

Seeing as the US and China have been notoriously stubborn on even forming weak ambitions towards tackling climate change, the talks are a baby step in the right direction towards overhauling infrastructure and replacing outdated technology. Talk may be cheap, but at least the two governments are beginning to speak.

Via Reuters

Images via Wikicommons users Klieneolive and Ivor.