U.S.-China Climate Change Agreement Announced Nov. 12, 2014

In Beijing, China, on Nov. 12, 2014, President Obama and President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China announced a new agreement on reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are linked to global climate change.

According to the text of the agreement (available online at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/11/11/us-china-joint-announcement-climate-change), the “United States intends to achieve an economy-wide target of reducing its emissions by 26%-28% below its 2005 level in 2025 and to make best efforts to reduce its emissions by 28%.  China intends to achieve the peaking of CO2 [carbon dioxide] emissions around 2030 and to make best efforts to peak early and intends to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20% by 2030.”

The two countries also agreed to six other measures to increase their cooperation on development of clean energy, carbon capture and sequestration, reduction of emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs, a group of greenhouse gases), emissions-reduction practices in urban areas, and trade in “green goods.”

The U.S. emissions-reduction pledge does not need formal Congressional approval, but Congress can affect administration actions towards the goal through funding, legislative language related to the U.S. EPA, or other mechanisms, and a new president taking office in January 2017 will play a large role in shaping U.S. policies and regulations that relate to climate change.

Here are four news media accounts on the agreement:
Deal on Carbon Emissions by Obama and Xi Jinping Raises Hopes for Upcoming Paris Climate Talks, New York Times, 11/12/14.
US-China climate deal: Can Obama make good on his promise?, Christian Science Monitor, 11/12/14.
GOP congressional leaders denounce U.S.-China deal on climate change, Washington Post, 11/12/14.
U.S. and China Reach Climate Accord After Months of Talks, New York Times, 11/11/14.

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