U.S. and China Strike Landmark Climate Deal

Both sides agree to limit emissions; further efforts needed

Nov 12, 2014
Outside Magazine

The U.S. and China are the two largest emitters of greenhouse gasses.    Brandon/Flickr

President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China announced an agreement to curb carbon emissions in the coming decades, following nine months of negotiations, reports the New York Times.

The United States pledged to reduce emissions by about 26 percent from its 2005 peak by 2025, while China pledged to reduce carbon emissions after 2030 and to generate 20 percent of its energy from zero-carbon sources that year.

Experts warned that these steps were not enough to prevent a two-degree global temperature rise, often cited as the point of irreversible warming. And while the accord does not need congressional approval, administration officials fear the Republican-controlled Congress might undermine efforts to reduce emissions.

The United States and China are the two largest producers of greenhouse gases, together accounting for 40 percent of all greenhouse gases emitted. Climate change experts hope this pledge from the two largest carbon producers will spur a worldwide agreement on carbon emissions at the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris next December.