Energy Efficiency

The two largest polluters in the world reach a landmark decision on climate change!

United States and China Reach Groundbreaking Climate Change Agreement

The two countries with the two largest economies in the world – and therefore also the two biggest polluters in the world – have reached an unprecedented agreement on limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

The U.S. & China Reach Agreement on Climate ChangeOn the final day of his visit to China, President Barack Obama met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to complete the agreement. The pact has been hailed by environmental leaders worldwide as an important first step in a global effort to address the effects of carbon emissions. However, the deal faces challenges, particularly in America. Obama, according to the Associated Press, called the agreement a “major milestone in the U.S.-China relationship. It shows what’s possible when we work together on an urgent global challenge.”

The terms of the agreement included:

  • The United States will cut its carbon emissions by 26% to 28% before 2025, as compared to where they were in 2005.
  • China, where new coal plants are still being built, will hit its peak of carbon emissions in 2030 or sooner.
  • China will aim to get 20% of its energy from zero-carbon emissions sources by 2030.
  • The White House issues a statement saying the “ultimate goal” is 80% reduction by 2050.

Urging Others to Change

The unexpected announcement is seen as an attempt to get action on climate change from the world’s leading industrial nations. Obama said that both China and the United States, as the two largest economies on the planet, “have a special responsibility to lead the global effort against climate change.”

The Chinese president called for “an energy revolution” that would include agreements on reforms in how countries handle air pollution.

Both men expressed hope that the agreement would encourage other countries to follow suit and create a worldwide effort to address issues caused by carbon emissions.

The timing of the agreement is important as the world’s industrial nations head into the United Nations Climate Conference next year in Paris.

Opposition Already Rising Against Agreement

With the Republican party taking control of the U.S. Senate in the November mid-term elections, the White House predicted that “climate deniers” would come out against the agreement.

The leading Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, immediately said that the United States economy “can’t take the President’s ideological war against coal.” McConnell said the agreement would create an “unrealistic plan” that would guarantee consumers face higher utility rates and fewer jobs.

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