The recent U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue concluded with the two countries reportedly setting some common goals regarding climate change; however, they reached no agreement on how to address the goals. According to reports some of the goals include: energy conservation and energy efficiency, carbon capture and storage technology, electric vehicles, modernizing the electric grid, and joint research and development of clean energy technologies.
Indeed, it appears that significant differences remain between the United States and China with respect to responsibility for addressing GHG emissions. While the United States wants large developing nations like India and China to make binding commitments, China, at least, appears reluctant to do so. Similarly, China remains firm in its belief that the U.S. should commit to reducing GHG emissions to 60 percent of 1990 levels by 2020, a position that the U.S. is not likely to agree to, considering the still controversial ACESA would only require a reduction to 83 percent of 2005 levels by 2020. Furthermore, China believes that developed countries should contribute 1 percent of GDP towards adaptation and mitigation efforts in the developing world, which the U.S. believes is unrealistic.
At the conclusion of the meetings Zhang Guobao, president of China’s National Energy Administration, said, “China and the United States are different in their stages of development, national conditions and historic footprints, so I think they should shoulder different responsibilities in tackling climate change.” Todd Stern, special envoy for climate change in the Obama administration, said, “We're slogging ahead. There is a lot of ingrained and embedded perspective on this issue that goes back now for 15 years. And, I'm not going to kid anybody; I don't think it's easy. But I do think that we will get there."