From: Sue Pleming, Reuters
Published July 29, 2009 07:00 AM

U.S. and China sign memorandum on climate change

The United States and China, the world's largest emitters of greenhouse gases, signed an agreement on Tuesday that promises more cooperation on climate change, energy and the environment without setting firm goals.

Chinese and U.S. officials signed the memorandum of understanding at the State Department following two days of high-level economic and strategic talks.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it highlighted the importance of climate change in U.S.-Chinese relations.

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"It also provides our countries with direction as we work together to support international climate negotiations and accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy," said Clinton at the signing ceremony.

She said the sides discussed in detail how to cut emissions ahead of a U.N. conference in Copenhagen in December that aims to set new global goals on controlling climate change.

The document, released by the State Department, did not set any firm targets but reiterated support for a 10-year cooperation deal signed last year by the Bush administration and created a new climate change policy "dialogue" which would meet regularly.

"It is not an agreement per se for each side to commit themselves to some particular target. It sets a structure for dialogue," said State Department spokesman Ian Kelly.

The memorandum listed 10 areas of cooperation, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, cleaner use of coal, smart grid technologies, electric cars, and research and development.

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