The US and China Reach Climate Change Accord

In what Secretary of State John Kerry calls "a milestone in the United States-China relationship" and "the first step toward a world that is more prosperous and more secure," the United States and China, after months of negotiations, have reached a climate change agreement to reduce carbon emissions:
China and the United States made common cause on Wednesday against the threat of climate change, staking out an ambitious joint plan to curb carbon emissions as a way to spur nations around the world to make their own cuts in greenhouse gases.

The landmark agreement, jointly announced [in Beijing] by President Obama and President Xi Jinping, includes new targets for carbon emissions reductions by the United States and a first-ever commitment by China to stop its emissions from growing by 2030.

Administration officials said the agreement, which was worked out quietly between the United States and China over nine months and included a letter from Mr. Obama to Mr. Xi proposing a joint approach, could galvanize efforts to negotiate a new global climate agreement by 2015.

...A climate deal between China and the United States, the world's No. 1 and No. 2 carbon polluters, is viewed as essential to concluding a new global accord.

...As part of the agreement, Mr. Obama announced that the United States would emit 26 percent to 28 percent less carbon in 2025 than it did in 2005. That is double the pace of reduction it targeted for the period from 2005 to 2020.

China's pledge to reach peak carbon emissions by 2030, if not sooner, is even more remarkable. To reach that goal, Mr. Xi pledged that so-called clean energy sources, like solar power and windmills, would account for 20 percent of China's total energy production by 2030.
This is good news, especially if this agreement has a domino effect of encouraging other countries to follow suit.

I'm still pessimistic about climate change, though. For a lot of reasons, not least of which is this: "Administration officials acknowledged that Mr. Obama could face opposition to his plans from a Republican-controlled Congress."

Basically, there's a lot of "what's the point?" for the international community if the US doesn't do something meaningful about climate change. We have a chance to be a leader, and to at least stem the tide of climate change, if not reverse its course. But there's a serious chance the Republican majority will decide to prioritize profits over progress. Again.

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