Remarks by Secretary of State Kerry at Cummins-Foton Joint Venture Plant

Beijing, China–(ENEWSPF)–February 15, 2014.

SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning, everybody. Thank you very much, Steve Chapman, Vice President of Cummins-Foton. And I’m very, very grateful to Foton and Cummins for inviting us here today, and thank you all for taking a few minutes to be with us.

I’m delighted to be joined up here by the American Ambassador to China, who is leaving in a few days, and we’re very grateful for his work – Gary Locke, thank you very much. (Applause.)

I’m also here with a very important individual who helps to make many of the decisions that help to advance the issue of climate change response, and he is the Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission. I’m delighted to see Vice Chairman Xie here. Thank you very much for being with us. (Applause.)

And I want you to know – excuse me – I want you to know that just now, as we were here, we’d been completing our meetings and Vice Chairman Xie made some very important phone calls and succeeded in completing our agreement with respect to some steps we are going to take to move the climate change process forward. And I’m very grateful to him and the leaders of China for their rapid and important response on this issue.

Jim, you may want to twist that up a little towards you. There you go.

And we’re also pleased be here and I thank him for his help in making this possible – the Foton Chairman Xiu. Thank you very much, sir. (Applause.) Thank you.

And finally, we have our special – the American special representative on climate change, who represents me in all of our – and the President in all of our negotiations, and that’s special representative Todd Stern, and I thank him for his important work here. (Applause.)

One of the most important challenges that we all face here in China, in America, in Europe and other countries, particularly where there’s a lot of industry and development, is how do we improve the quality of the air that we breathe and at the same time reduce the greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change? To be successful, it is going to take the cooperation of China and the United States – not just our governments, but also our industries. I just toured this amazing facility, and let me tell you, what you have built here is really a blueprint for the businesses of the future. Not only is the facility modern and clean and state-of-the-art, but the workers are well paid and the benefits are good, and there is collaboration between what happens here and what happens in the United States.

I learned that this past year, the Foton-Cummins plant received a huge shipment of equipment from Michigan. And for that to happen, before any of that equipment gets here, there are people back in Indiana, in the United States, who are doing research and development. In fact, hundreds of people in the United States and right here in Beijing – all of you – have jobs because of what is going on here at this facility.

So we’re not just improving lives by building cleaner engines, which you see right here, and making it easier for people to breathe; we’re not just transforming the way we use and produce energy – we are also creating jobs and strengthening our economies by moving towards clean energy, clean technology, alternative and renewable fuels.

But here’s the truth that we all need to think about: In order to meet the global and the economic challenge of climate change, undeniably all of us are going to have to do more. China and the United States together are the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gas. Together we account for almost 40 percent of all of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. President Xi and President Obama have joined in agreeing that we both have a special role to play in reducing those emissions. And we all know that air quality is really a fundamental part of a decent quality of life for people.

We know where the problem starts. Approximately 22 percent of the air pollution here in Beijing, and more than 25 percent of climate pollution in the United States, comes from cars, trucks and buses that are on the road. Now, a lot more comes from power plants and the fuel that’s used, depending on what the fuel is, for those power plants. But we have to come at this issue step by step. And one of the big steps that we can take is to build cleaner engines, like you are building here at Foton-Cummins.

So we have to build cleaner engines that run on cleaner fuels. And how does that happen? It happens through innovation – innovation that the Foton-Cummins plant makes happen every single day. Innovation like making a cleaner engine. Innovation like making a car or a truck that can go farther, a longer distance on fuel with fewer pollutants coming out of it. Innovation like finding ways to take an old truck or an old car and change the way that it provides its power and can run on clean fuels.

Above all, innovation depends on governments sending the right signals. China has already committed itself to ambitious fuel-quality standards so that the engines run on cleaner fuel. During Vice President Biden’s most recent visit, we agreed to move even more aggressively in reducing emissions and cleaning up air pollution that comes from heavy-duty vehicles. And when these cleaner fuel standards are fully implemented, everyone in China will benefit.

People everywhere, in every country, whether it’s in Beijing or in the streets of Washington, D.C., people want healthy air for themselves and for their children. Last year, when I was here, we joined together with our – with China’s leaders in what we call the Strategic & Economic Dialogue. Within this dialogue, we have launched five initiatives as part of our Climate Change Working Group. I’m very pleased to report today that we have completed implementation plans for those five initiatives on heavy-duty vehicles, on smart grid for the delivery of energy, on carbon capture, utilization and storage, on energy efficiency, and finally on collection and management of data.

I’m very pleased to also announce today that the leaders of China have agreed to join us in a mutual effort – China and the United States will put an extra effort into exchanging information and discussing policies that will help both of us to be able to develop and lead on the standards that need to be announced next year for the global climate change agreement. This is a unique cooperative effort between China and the United States, and we have hopes that it will help to set an example for global leadership and global seriousness on the issue of next year’s climate change negotiation.

And finally, I’ll end by saying this, and you’ve all been very patient. Thank you. There is a great Chinese proverb that speaks to the question of adapting to change. We would be wise to take it to heart today. The proverb says that, when the wind changes directions, there are those who build walls and there are those who build windmills. Today, not only are we on the side of building windmills, we’re actually building something better. We’re building cleaner engines and making cleaner fuels. We’re building wind turbines and solar panels. We’re building new technologies to help us respond to the challenge of climate change.

Two world powers, the two largest economies in the world – China and the United States – are joining together in order to help power the world in a new way and help to make better quality of life for all citizens.

So we want to thank you, all of you, for being part of this larger challenge, this larger mission. We’re grateful to you for the work you do here, and we thank you for building engines that are moving us forward in more ways than one. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)

Source: state.gov