President Obama and President Xi Jinping finished up the deal Wednesday near the end of the trade summit in Beijing.
At the end of the APEC trade summit in China, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a climate change agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping that would cut both countries’ greenhouse gas emissions by close to a third over the next two decades.
Under the deal, the United States would cut its carbon emissions between 26-28% — from levels established in 2005 — by 2025. China would peak its carbon emissions no later than 2030 and would also increase the use of non-fossil fuels to 20% by 2030.
“As the world’s two largest economies, energy consumers and emitters of greenhouse gases, we have a special responsibility to lead the global effort against climate change,” Obama said Wednesday in a joint press conference with Xi.
Obama said he hopes the announcement will spur other nations to tackle climate change.
“We hope to encourage all major economies to be ambitious — all countries, developing and developed — to work across some of the old divides, so we can conclude a strong global climate agreement next year,” Obama said.
The White House said the ultimate target is to “achieve deep economy-wide reductions on the order of 80% by 2050.”
A senior administration official calls the goals both “ambitious and achievable,” but also acknowledged that U.S. domestic politics could put a damper on the announcement. Saying “leading climate deniers” in the GOP might try to stop the initiative, the official hinted the President may act alone if necessary.
“Congress may try to stop us, but we believe that with control of Congress changing hands we can proceed with the authority we already have.” The official added, “This is really the crusade of a narrow group of people who are politically motivated and have made this a cause celebre, but we believe we will be successful.”