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China and US Reach Historic Agreement on Climate Change

us china emissions

Image credit: Photo courtesy of EPA

Recently it is jointly declared by U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping that two countries had set the remarkable goals in carbon reduction. Such decision would possibly a focus at the United Nations Climate Conference to be held in Paris next winter. In addition, the climate change has become a top priority at the G20 summit just ended in Brisbane, Australia.

In the hope of President Obama, all big economies in the world , no matter it was developing and developed, should be encouraged to show their ambitions in regard to working across some of the previous divides, therefore, they would be able to reach a significant  global climate agreement next year.

With the world’s biggest economies and the highest manufacturing outputs both from China and the United States, it should be untreatable that these two countries have been ranked top in carbon emissions. Only in 2008, 42% of the global carbon emissions had been made by these two countries. Previously both countries have accused one another for failures in making remarkable changes. However, this partnership would change the situation with more potential for future achievements. Additionally, it could also encourage other heavy polluters such as India and Russia to do the same.

Carbon dioxide is kind of greenhouse gas which is largely attributed to the warming climate, because carbon dioxide could take heat that would otherwise have run away through the atmosphere. It has been long insisted by climatologists that it is quite necessary to make significant changes so as to ease the warming trends predicted, if not, we would have to face the devastating and irreversible changes regarding food production, polar ice, global sea levels as well as wildlife all over the world.

In the early 1990s, many scientists worked out the aim to limit the rise of global temperature to 2˚C (3.6˚F) in order that serious consequences to the planet could be avoided. Although there was still some doubts that the 2˚C figure itself was not clear in some sense, which had to be defined again, the call for greatly cutting down emissions and limiting temperature increases has been world-wide encouraged.

As President Obama said, since U.S and China were the two largest economies, biggest consumers of energy and heaviest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, these two countries should bear a special responsibility as the leaders in the world’s effort against climate change.

According to President Xi’s statement, China’s emissions would get to the highest point in 2030, and twenty percent of China’s energy would get from non-fossil fuel sources by then. To realize such number, 1,000 gigawatts of renewable and nuclear power should be added to the grid in the country.

As for the goal set by President Obama for the U.S, it would cut down carbon emissions by 26-28% of 2005 levels by 2025 and the midpoint goal would be a 17% decrease by 2020.

Although this goal might sound incredibly ambitious and did arouse angriness from some of Obama’s political opponents, many of the necessarily related policies were already being worked out for the obvious impact. The U.S. accounted for over 7,250 million metric tons of CO2 emissions in 2005, and that figure was decreased to 6,525 million metric tons in 2012—a 10% reduction. Political hissy fits should not possibly interfere with this goal or ongoing  development.

Image credit: Photo courtesy of EPA