Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

Symbolic or More? US China Joint Declaration on Climate Change Challenged

November 12, 2021
US China climate change

Two flags fly high in the Chinatown neighbourhood of Boston – one belongs to the United States of America, while the other belongs to the Republic of China. A few years in the making, these two flags have come together for a symbolic and landmark US China climate change declaration. To give some perspective, the US China climate change declaration is a landmark one because both nations are also carbon superpowers thanks to their exceedingly high levels of carbon emissions. While US carbon emissions are the highest in the world, China trails close on its heels thanks to the manufacturing prowess that it has built over the past few decades to emerge as one of the economic superpowers in the world.

While the decision and the declaration have both been hailed as landmark ones, there are experts who say that the declaration is not sufficient and merely a symbolic one. Many have pointed out that the ceremonial side of the declaration was far greater than the actual details presented in the declaration. There are sections of people who would like to see greater detail within the US China climate change declaration along the following lines:

  • Impact of trade and investment decisions: Will there be an impact on how investment decisions are made now that this declaration has been signed? And who all will be affected by the impact on the environment following the trade activities that are carried out notwithstanding? These are some vital questions and doubts posed.
  • Intervention: In the US China climate change declaration, who have been named as the major stakeholders in terms of communities, groups and other parties and what exactly is the extent to which they have been granted the power to intervene? The standards have not been set clearly to demarcate where the buck stops and who is to be involved in order to generate greater responsibility and accountability.