November 17, 2014

U.S. And China Reach Nonbinding Climate Deal

While in China last week, President Barack Obama announced a new – though nonbinding – global warming pact with Chinese President Xi Jinping. According to Politico, under the agreement the United States will cut its emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 while China will aim to halt increases in its carbon emissions levels by 2030 or earlier. 

Since these pledges are nonbinding, whether they are achieved depends on whether successors to the two presidents will also commit to meeting them. 

Other analysts argue China will have difficulty meeting its targets even if leaders there say they are committed to achieving them. As The Washington Post reports, “The scale of construction for China to meet its goals is huge even by Chinese standards. It must add 800 to 1,000 gigawatts of nuclear, wind, solar and other zero-emission generating capacity by 2030 – more than all the coal-fired power plants that exist in China today and close to the total electricity generating capacity of the United States.”