In a first of its kind agreement for the U.S. and China both of the world’s superpowers have agreed to reduce carbon emissions significantly. Under new agreement between the two countries, made during Obama's visit to Asia, Obama announced a new target to cut net greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 while Jinping of China announced targets to peak CO2 emissions around 2030. Jingping also announced a target of using 20 percent non fossil-fuel-based energy sources by 2030. In doing so China agreed to deploy an additional 800-1,000 gigawatts of nuclear, wind and solar power by 2030.
Among the efforts announced the US and China will expand research into clean energy and its deployment through the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC). The White House said that includes extending CERC to 2020, renewing funding for three priorities: building efficiency; clean vehicles and cleaner coal technologies. The new goals were celebrated by renewable energy industries as well as conservation organizations.
“China's new goal of producing 20 percent of its power from clean energy by 2030 is a huge step forward that signals a historic shift away from dirty fossil fuels, and could drive a new global competition for clean energy technology,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune in a statement. “By setting their sights high, the U.S. and China are showing that they are serious about taking action on the climate crisis, and that together, the international community can beat back climate disruption.”
Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) President Rhone Resch said the agreement shows that the world’s leading superpowers are getting serious about solving climate change issues. "This historic, breakthrough agreement represents a huge step forward when it comes to fighting climate change," Resch said.
Solar power is uniquely positioned to help, according to Resch, who pointed to recent statistics related to how clean energy is positioned to help. "This year, solar is expected to offset an estimated 20 million metric tons of harmful CO2 emissions, which is the equivalent of taking 4 million cars off U.S. highways, saving 2.1 billion gallons of gasoline or shuttering half a dozen coal-fired power plants,” he said.
According to the White House the U.S. and China now account for more than one third of greenhouse gas emissions across the world. Under the agreement the U.S. will cut its carbon production by 80 percent by 2050, the White House said. It added, “These actions will also inject momentum into the global climate negotiations on the road to reaching a successful new climate agreement next year in Paris.” The U.S. also agreed to submit its plans to the Framework Convention on Climate Change by the first quarter of 2015.
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) called the move a game-changer. "This new deal between China and the United States to lower greenhouse gas emissions is great news for fighting climate change globally, and an inspiring model as the world's nations discuss crafting a global climate deal in Paris 2015. EESI applauds these two global leaders for taking great strides together to deal with the crisis of climate change," said EESI Executive Director Carol Werner. "Opponents of ambitious greenhouse gas targets often cited Chinese inaction as an excuse for U.S. inaction, arguing that America could not address the problem on its own and should therefore not act unilaterally.” Werner added that the agreement means opponents of climate action in Capitol Hill and in business have one less argument against taking action to avert climate disaster.Tweet