context: Cooperation on addressing climate change is shaping up as valuable ballast for the US–China bilateral relationship that is increasingly wedged as the two nations’ trajectories and values diverge. As the world’s largest producer of HFCs, China ratifying the Kigali Amendment and phasing out these chemicals is a step towards a safer climate.

President Xi Jinping participated in an online summit with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on 16 April.

Among other matters, Xi announced that China will officially become party to the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which bans the use of HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) – a type of greenhouse gas.

According to Wang Jinnan 王金南 China Academy of Environmental Planning director, China, France and Germany can strengthen cooperation on

  • energy transition
  • renewable energy
  • microgrid technology
  • hydrogen energy technology in aviation
  • carbon markets

Xie Zhenhua 解振华 China special climate envoy met with John Kerry US special climate envoy in Shanghai on 15-16 April, where they issued the ‘US–China joint statement addressing the climate crisis’. According to the joint statement, the two nations will continue discussing concrete emissions reductions measures for the 2020s.

Decarbonising energy-intensive industries will be more difficult for China than the US given the larger scale of these industries in China, commented Lin Boqiang 林伯强 Xiamen University China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy chief.

The carbon border adjustment mechanism promoted by the EU demands close attention, says Zhang Haibin 张海滨 Peking University School of International Studies deputy director. A unilateral action taken by the EU, this will have negative impact on international trade, adds Zhang.

As for the Chinese carbon market, Zhang commented that

  • carbon prices must be maintained at a rational level
  • quotas must be distributed well to prevent the market signal failing