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"China and US must lead on climate"

As US secretary of state Hillary Clinton arrives in China, an open letter from Greenpeace urges the two countries to cooperate on reviving the global economy without sacrificing human health or the environment.

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19 February 2009
The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
United States of America

H. E. Mr Yang Jiechi
Foreign Minister
People's Republic of China

Dear Madam Secretary
Dear Minister Yang

Greenpeace welcomes the first visit of secretary of state Hillary Clinton to China.

Meetings this week between your governments will be closely watched not only by those in China and the United States but also by people around the world. They will be watching for signs of leadership, signs of partnership and signs of a common commitment to end both the most serious economic crisis the world has faced in decades and the most profound environmental crisis humanity has ever faced.

This year will be significant for many reasons. It will bring the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China; the 30th anniversary of Premier Deng Xiaoping’s visit to the United States; and the first year in office of an already historic US president.

Most importantly, it is the year in which the international community, meeting in Copenhagen in December, must agree on urgent and dramatic action to avert the looming climate disaster and define the path toward a more sustainable, more survivable future. Strong leadership from the US and China, acting together, is essential to reaching an agreement in Copenhagen. We are writing to respectfully urge you to demonstrate that leadership.

Already, we have seen positive signs. In recent weeks, the US has developed an economic stimulus package that includes substantial investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, demonstrating that economic recovery and environmental sustainability are mutually supportive goals. At the same time, China has begun work on a new energy law that places strong emphasis on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, demonstrating that greener development is not only possible but also desirable.

For decades now, Greenpeace has worked to call global attention to the reality and the risks of climate change. We have also been at the forefront of demands for a genuinely clean energy revolution, calling for changes to the way energy is currently generated and delivered and for a massive investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy. The current economic crisis provides an unprecedented opportunity to make these investments in a way that creates jobs, rebuilds critical infrastructure and lays the foundation for a new energy economy in both nations.

To that end, we urge China and the US to explore deeper collaboration between their energy efficiency and renewable energy industries, to create a new development model that meets energy demands, moves both nations away from coal, and generates millions of green jobs without sacrificing human health or the environment. Just as importantly, we urge you to work together to outline a financial mechanism that is equitable, workable and adequate to foster greener development not only in China but also throughout southern nations.

But as climate leaders, China and the US can and must do more. We ask that the leaders of both countries, president Barack Obama and president Hu Jintao, issue a joint statement at the G20 Summit in April in which they commit themselves to finding climate solutions, including securing the necessary funding, and call upon leaders around the world to join them in that effort. And we respectfully urge both leaders to personally attend the Copenhagen climate talks to ensure the success of those efforts.

The summer melting of the Arctic, more severe hurricanes, increasing drought, wildfires and heatwaves; these impacts are all signs of an increasingly chaotic climate system that will undermine the economic and development goals of all nations.

Time is running out. Dr James Hansen, a leading climatologist from NASA, recently stated that the world is now in “imminent peril”. The window for avoiding that peril is narrow, and closing rapidly, but it is not yet closed. With the right leadership, we can bring global greenhouse gas emissions under control, set them on a downward trajectory, and avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. As the largest local greenhouse emitters, the US and China have an historic opportunity to show that decisive leadership and ensure the strong climate protection needed to foster real and sustainable economic security. Commitments from both nations may differ but the urgency of the task facing us means every nation must play their part.

Secretary Clinton’s visit to Beijing falls 37 years to the day after former US president Richard Nixon’s historic visit to the same city marked the start of a new era of peace and cooperation for our countries. We trust that your meetings will be similarly remembered by future generations as a critical step that resulted in a legacy of climate protection, clean energy and stronger, sustainable economies.


Sze Pang Cheung
Director of Campaigns
Greenpeace China

Lisa Finaldi
Director of Campaigns
Greenpeace US

Homepage photo from US Department of State


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发表评论 Post a comment

评论通过管理员审核后翻译成中文或英文。 最大字符 1200。

Comments are translated into either Chinese or English after being moderated. Maximum characters 1200.

评论 comments

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous


(Jacob Fromer翻译)

Let's make a deal!

Time really is running out for a climate deal between the US and China. I sincerely hope that this meeting produces more tangible results so that we can avert global disaster.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous


translated by diaoshuhuan

Will Clinton make a good secretary of state?

Will Clinton make a good secretary of state? What does everyone think?

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous



Clinton will definitely make a good secretary of state

Clinton is experienced, knowledgeable, tactful, and ready to stand by what she believes in. I think that makes her a perfect secretary of state.
Crystal, US

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous



Even though the subject is difficult, we need to make decisions

The open letter makes a lot of sense. Just like the phrase "Not knowing the true face of Mountain Lu because one lives on it" both countries are facing economic crisis now, so a third party has to give some constructive suggestions. Currently China is confronting several problems including drought, the migrant peasant workers seeking employment, and small and medium sized companies facing difficulties. And now China is supposed to take the long-term environmental interests into consideration? The government plans to end the financial slump by expanding construction of infrastructure on a large-scale--how can it manage to take environmental interests into account? University graduates are confronted with an awful job market while their parents get anxious about their children's futures. How can you ask them to spare time to show interest in environmental problems? It seems the best option uses reason and balance, and is feasible and not radical. The open letter is a perfect example.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous





“The United States & China contribute 40% of global greenhouse-gas emissions.”
Climate change is a global issue. I
hope the United States and China can cooperate on climate issues as partners and work together to protect our environment.

(translated by Fangfang CHEN)

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous



评论由 余淼 翻译

Individuals need to think about environmental interests too

An open letter is a good idea, but individuals and governments need to start thinking about environmental interests too. If we waste all of our soil, water, and air, we will have no more resources. If we have no more resources, then there will be no more economy. Then it will be too late to just worry about making sure your own children get a job.

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous



Start Acting

I wholeheartedly wish for such cheerful cooperation between us and America. It is going to let us act. Starting with ourselves, starting with the little things, we can build awareness of environmental protection. Those little things that our billion-plus population does are sure to have a remarkable result.
(Translated by Jacob Fromer)

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous



so-called "natural disasters"

This year severe drought threatened north China, and a rare snowstorm swept across the south. It is possible that the gains of China's economic growth will be offset by these "natural disasters", if we don't pay attention to the ecological environment. It is also possible that someday our eyes will have no more tears to cry, if people still believe that environmental protection is not our concern.(Translated by Tian Liang)

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous





America, oh America...

America often poses as the world's leader, and as an already developed country it often asks starving, developing countries to work with them to protect the environment.
America's quantity of waste is even higher than that of developing countries, but first they ask us not to consider whether or not people have enough food and clothing, then they ask us for the same amount of intensity in dealing with problems in the environment.
Isn't this just the leaders showing off? It seems a bit like the strong are picking on the weak.

(Translated by Braden Latham-Jones.)

Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous




Let the financial storm hit harder!

I'd like to ask, how much does the financial crisis matter when compared with global environmental crisis? Are humans so fragile to be easily hit down by the seemingly disastrous financial storm? Just think of it, icebergs in the Arctic would disappear within a few years,with the environmental catastrophes ensuing, after which chain effects would hardly stop! Why do all our leaders switch their attention to the financial crisis, and where have their concerns about environmental protection gone? How can they become so short-sighted? The financial storm can't destroy our earth, and it will be the environmental pollution that burns man's civilization to ash!
(translated by diaoshuhuan)