Obama & China President Xi Jinping Unveil CO2 Emission Reduction Targets

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In a follow-up to the major agreements between the United States and China announced this morning, here’s more detail on the climate change issues the two world leaders discussed. They have had constructive dialogue on these points for several years, and The New York Times reports that the agreements culminated from talk over the past nine months. The new announcements by the two nations, which generate 45% of the world’s pollution, should spearhead commitments from other nations in advance of and during the upcoming world summit in Peru.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

President Xi Jinping of China spoke first. Although he did not set a specific target for emissions, he committed his country for the first time ever to curbing greenhouse gas output by 2030 and reducing it thereafter.

Xi is running true to his promises at September’s New York climate meeting that China would soon set its peak for carbon emissions and achieve carbon efficiencies by 2020. The Chinese government has recently put some restrictions on utility operators and declared penalties for power company officials who do not heed them.

obama china
President Barack Obama is presented with a bouquet of flowers by a young Chinese girl upon arrival at Capital International Airport, Beijing, China, Nov. 10, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama announced a planned reduction of US greenhouse gas emission levels between 26% and 28% by 2025, compared with 2005 levels. The pledge doubles efforts currently being made in this nation. The US should be capable of meeting this target, despite Congressional post-election rumblings.

Renewable Energy

Mr. Xi committed China to producing 20% of its power by 2030 from clean energy sources, such as solar and wind power. According to CNN, American officials concurred that the solar and wind initiatives and incentives discussed would save US consumers billions.

United Nations Talks in Lima this December

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, tweeted earlier about the good news:

Global climate change discussions by the international community will resume in Peru several weeks from now in the final talks of 2014. Nations will negotiate there over drafts of the Paris accord for next year. I will be reporting on the talks live from Peru for CleanTechnica and Planetsave.

Yesterday, the UN released elements of the draft agreement in preparation for the Lima Conference of Parties. At that time, Ms. Figueres said:

“What is emerging now is a clearer and more coherent picture of the Paris agreement 2015. [It] is gratifying is that instead of waiting to the last minute, governments are coming forward with creative and cooperative suggestions—which, alongside the momentum for change happening in every corner of the globe, bodes well for the next 12 months.”

UNFCCC Agreements to be Finalized in Paris, December 2015

Mr. Xi reportedly told media after the announcements by the presidents that “we agreed to make sure that international climate change negotiations will reach an agreement in Paris.” Mr. Obama voiced a similar commitment.

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