Wednesday, November 12, 2014

U.S. and China Reach Climate Accord After Months of Talks



The US and China were able to come to an agreement on Wednesday on a joint plan to drastically cut carbon emissions in the future, and inspire other nations to do the same. China and the US are by far the highest greenhouse gas emitters, so by them being able to come to an agreement on cutting emissions shows the rest of the world that they are serious about the problem. Specific details weren't quite clear but the US says it “would emit 26 percent to 28 percent less carbon in 2025 than it did in 2005.” That is double the pace of carbon emission reduction it targeted for the period from 2005 to 2020. Meanwhile China pledged to reach its peak carbon emissions by 2030 at the latest. President Xi also promised that clean energy like solar and wind would account for twenty percent of China’s energy production by 2030. Given the rough week for Obama, this Accord was a much needed success for him and the Democratic Party. 

-       Will this agreement make a difference? If yes, how so?
-        Do you believe this agreement could lead to improved relations with China?


6 comments:

Spencer said...

This is nothing but a good start for both the US and China to stop being the worst greenhouse gas emitters in the world. I say that because unitl we can actually see them take and perform these measures to clean their acts up significantly, then it really doesn't do much. "President Xi promised" is just a promise. We need to see him actually not just talk the talk but walk the walk as well. The pledges sound perfect and couldn't come at a better time following the 175 page climate report by the IPCC, but as time comes and goes it will be interesting to see how committed these two sides are at cleaning up the environment. Meanwhile, this is a good step in the right direction as far as our relations with China go and hopefully we can continue this push for cleaner energy.

David Diba Six said...

This I think is not just good start but hopefully a profound landmark of change in the relation with China and the environment. China has long had no regard for the environment creating such atrocities of industrialization as to have created so much coal production that beijing as a city was poi send from smog. This is also not even taking into account their destruction of the yellow river making it so toxic that it was uninhabitable with in miles of the river. The fact that China can recognize the environment and state that they will make change for the future is remarkable. Furthermore the heightened relations with China will not only help the two countries environmentally but economically. US and China have long been at odds, and we had only regained communication after the ping pong diplomacy yet never fully trusting one another, with the connection made, it could lead further free trade alliance with the US and its pacific rim countries, such an accomplishment would be extremely beneficial to all countries. With such talks I see a hopeful future of cooperation between the countries .

David Diba Six said...

This I think is not just good start but hopefully a profound landmark of change in the relation with China and the environment. China has long had no regard for the environment creating such atrocities of industrialization as to have created so much coal production that beijing as a city was poisoned from smog. This is also not even taking into account their destruction of the yellow river making it so toxic that it was uninhabitable with in miles of the river. The fact that China can recognize the environment and state that they will make change for the future is remarkable. Furthermore the heightened relations with China will not only help the two countries environmentally but economically. US and China have long been at odds, and we had only regained communication after the ping pong diplomacy yet never fully trusting one another, with the connection made, it could lead further free trade alliance with the US and its pacific rim countries, such an accomplishment would be extremely beneficial to all countries. With such talks I see a hopeful future of cooperation between the countries .

Franziska Shelton said...

While this is obviously a beneficial step to cutting carbon emissions and improving environmental conditions, I'm hesitant to put all of my faith in the accord. And even if Xi and China do try hard to reduce emissions and clean up the environment, China's large industrialized economy will also need to make great change, which may be harder than it seems and may not solved quickly by simply creating laws that might have trouble being enforced. Good intentions and promises do not always result in real, long term change, which our planet needs. However, this promise is obviously better than nothing. I'm hopeful that at the United Nations Climate Change Conference next year, more countries will sign on. I also hope that China and the US can cooperate on this issue and improve their relations at the same time, or at least use the accord as a way to remain amicable.

Kelsey O'Donnell said...

I agree with these previous comments in that talks are merely that. Like the rest of the world, I will believe it when I see it. However, I also agree that this is an amazing step because having such an official accords over this issue will at least partially hold both the US and China accountable for following up on their promises. China and the US are two of the biggest and most industrialized countries in the world so it makes sense that they have the greatest emission issues, however, the US does not have as much of an excuse. As all of the countries around the world went through industrialization, each produced similar stages of sweatshops to improved worker treatment to consolidation to what is seen now. However, unlike other countries in Europe, the US still hasn't gotten to the clean energy and lowered emission stage. The US has been industrialized for much longer than China has and has some of the greatest technology in the world, yet it is still one of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters. This, I think, is unacceptable. The US can be a leader in the economy and defense technology but it can't figure out how to stop polluting the air, water, and atmosphere? While the US may be bigger than the European countries, I don't think that should be an excuse.

Ben Maison said...

This is a solid step forward considering both the US and China rejected taking any required emission cuts just years ago. The problem at the heart of this rejection was (and is still) the fear of falling behind. The Kyoto Protocol tried to address this issue by having every country agree to the treaty, but the US, China, and India all refused (along with a host of other countries). It was specifically rejected in the US due to fears that it would "would seriously harm the economy of the United States" in comparison with global competitors. Now that both the US and China are willing to work together, it's much more likely that other countries will be more receptive to such changes.