Banking on U.S.-China cooperation, business leaders across the APEC economies stressed collective efforts to overcome pressing climate challenges on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in San Francisco.
"We actually have a number of action plans, concrete and deliverable that we have suggested and recommended to our leaders," Dominic Ng, chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) told China Daily at a news conference on Tuesday.
"In terms of U.S. and China, we just hope that President (Joe) Biden and President Xi (Jinping) can join hands and urge the rest of the 19 economies to follow our plan and try to help the world become a better place," he said.
ABAC was created by APEC leaders in 1995 as the business arm of APEC. The members meet four times a year in preparation for their recommendations to the leaders at the annual forum. Ng, the chairman and CEO of East West Bank, was appointed by U.S. President Joe Biden as ABAC 2023 chair.
One of the priorities identified by the ABAC 2023 report is collaborating to promote environmental sustainability and to address climate change.
Recommendations include developing a roadmap for trade and investment in renewable energy, such as low-carbon materials and technologies to reduce emissions, and accelerating emissions reductions and promoting financing for a just and affordable transition in the region.
Ng said interconnected modern economies and the global nature of current challenges meant that close cooperation was vital. "We meet later this week with APEC leaders. Our main message will be that only by collaborating will we successfully navigate through an increasingly fragmented and fractious operating environment," he said.
ABAC also issued a statement on the climate response — underscoring the importance of taking advantage of the region's potential to attain innovation and sustainable growth.
In its COP28 statement, the council urges APEC economies to "work constructively together" at the upcoming 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP28, in Dubai, as "a global trailblazer in finding those solutions".
To promote a successful COP28, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, met in California ahead of APEC.
The two sides have reached "understandings and agreements" on climate issues that will help ensure progress is made at the COP28 talks, Kerry told the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore last week.
As the world's two top economies and biggest greenhouse gas emitters, collaboration between the two countries is considered a crucial part of global efforts to tackle the climate crisis.
"The challenge we are having today is our actions lag very much behind schedule. We have achieved only 15 percent of the UN climate change goal," said Ning Gaoning, chair of ABAC's Sustainable Growth Working Group, stressing the urgent need in credit finance and technology to speed up the transition.
"We hope the relations between the U.S. and China shift from confrontation to cooperation in economy, trade, technology and finance," said Ning, former chairman of the board of Sinochem Holdings Corp Ltd.
Admitting challenges ahead, Ning said the collaboration could start from a rational dialogue, and the APEC forum provided an opportunity.
Having high hopes for U.S.-China cooperation in science and technology, Scott Rozelle, PhD faculty co-director of the Stanford Center on China's Economy and Institutions, told China Daily that he believes both countries' leaders "can come to terms on extending the U.S.-China Science and Technology Agreement".
"This is the way that they can continue to put a floor under the relationship to stabilize it and give it a chance to begin to thrive again," he said, "Keeping things stable is the top priority. Finding ways to interact and engage is what I hope can happen.
"This is absolutely essential for China's economy, the U.S. economy, Asia's economy, the world economy, and world peace and stability," he continued.
Climate was also on the agenda during an ABAC engagement with APEC finance ministers, hosted by U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
"Financing is a critical lever in the transition to a low-carbon economy, and one where the private sector can be a key partner," said Ng. "Massive investment is needed — but it is still cheaper than the alternative."