After months of bilateral dialogue, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have reached an agreement to cut their respective country's greenhouse gas emissions. The presidents called the deal an attempt to “inject momentum into the global climate negotiations and inspire other countries to join in coming forward.”
Both US and China account for one-third of the world’s carbon emissions. The agreement puts momentum forward to address the long term effort to decarbonize the global economy.
The US agreed to cut its carbon emissions by 26-28% by 2025. China wants to target carbon emissions to peak by 2030 and to increase its renewable energy to 20% of all energy sources.
“This is an ambitious goal, but it is an achievable goal. It will double the pace at which we’re reducing carbon pollution in the United States,” said President Obama.
This marks the first agreement by China to peak its carbon emissions.
President Xi explained the importance of continued US-China relations: “China and the U.S. should continue to enhance dialogue and coordination on Asia Pacific affairs, and respect and accommodate each other’s interests and concerns in this region, and develop inclusive coordination.”
The conference brought other climate change agreements such as expanding joint clean energy research and development, enhancing cooperation on hydrofluorocarbons, and promoting trade of green goods.
Republicans back home are already aroused. Sen Mitch McConnell stating, “this unrealistic plan, that the President would dump on his successor, would ensure higher utility rates and far fewer jobs.”
The conference also brought the two nations to discuss issues such as the Korean peninsula, Iran, Ebola, and cybersecurity.
President Obama addressed their differences by saying, “I want to say that although there are going to continue to be tensions and disagreements between our countries, I’ve consistently found President Xi to be willing to engage on those differences in a frank and candid manner, and we have consistently strived to find ways to narrow those differences.”