U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have made an ambitious announcement to fight climate change, with both countries setting significant goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“As the world’s two largest economies, energy consumers and emitters of greenhouse gases, we have a special responsibility to lead the global effort against climate change,” said President Obama.
“That’s why today I am proud that we can announce a historic agreement. I commend President Xi, his team, and the Chinese government for the commitment they are making to slow, peak, and then reverse the course of China’s carbon emissions.”
For the first time, China has announced a peak year for its carbon emissions of around 2030 and will make a best effort to peak early. It also intends to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20 percent by 2030.
For its part the U.S. has set a new goal of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2025.
“This is an ambitious goal,” said President Obama, “But it is an achievable goal”:
“It will double the pace at which we’re reducing carbon pollution in the United States. It puts us on a path to achieving the deep emissions reductions by advanced economies that the scientific community says is necessary to prevent the most catastrophic effects of climate change. It will help improve public health. It will grow our economy. It will create jobs. It will strengthen our energy security, and it will put both of our nations on the path to a low-carbon economy.”
Both countries will continue to strengthen their energy technology cooperation which is essential to achieving steep greenhouse gas reductions in the coming decades. The two countries also launched a range of new initiatives to boost clean energy research, make carbon capture and storage a reality, link up our cities as they pursue low-carbon solutions, and promote green trade between our countries; measures that will strengthen and expand cooperation, using existing platforms.
“This is a major milestone in the U.S.- China relationship,” said President Obama.
“By making this announcement today, together, we hope to encourage all major economies to be ambitious — all countries, developing and developed — to work across some of the old divides so we can conclude a strong global climate agreement next year.”
“When we work together,” said President Obama, “It’s good for the United States, it’s good for China, and it is good for the world.”