The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) salutes the climate change agreement reached by the leaders of the United States and China. For the first time, China, the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, has given a firm target date for reductions in its emissions. It announced that its emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, will peak in 2030 at the latest. The United States, for its part, has made a significant commitment to cut its emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025—an emissions target close to double its prior commitments for the 2005 to 2020 time period.
"This new deal between China and the United States to lower greenhouse gas emissions is great news for fighting climate change globally, and an inspiring model as the world’s nations discuss crafting a global climate deal in Paris 2015. EESI applauds these two global leaders for taking great strides together to deal with the crisis of climate change," said EESI Executive Director Carol Werner. “Opponents of ambitious greenhouse gas targets often cited Chinese inaction as an excuse for U.S. inaction, arguing that America could not address the problem on its own and should therefore not act unilaterally. This climate agreement represents what many Members of Congress said was an essential precondition for stronger U.S. commitment on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The onus is now on Congress to support climate change action.”
The agreement was announced by U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping following their meeting in Beijing on Wednesday, November 12. The U.S. cuts will be achieved through multiple measures enumerated in the President’s Climate Action Plan released last year. Renewable and low-carbon energy will play a key role in China, with President Xi saying it would represent 20 percent of China’s energy production by 2030. As part of the agreement, the United States and China announced expanded cooperation in several areas: joint clean energy R&D; carbon capture, use, and storage demonstrations; hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs) reductions; launch of a climate-smart/low-carbon cities initiative; trade in green goods; and “on the ground” demonstrations of clean energy.
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