China and the United States recently reached a historic and prolific climate accord, announced by both parties on the heels of the 2014 APEC Leaders’ Summit in Beijing. The landmark agreement, includes new targets for carbon emissions reductions by the US and a first-ever commitment by China to stop its emissions from growing by 2030. The climate deal between China and the United States, the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 carbon polluters, is the signature achievement of two days of meetings between leaders Xi Jinping and Barack Obama in Beijing during APEC.
In his opinion editorial for the New York Times addressing the historic agreement, US Secretary of State John Kerry writes that the United States and China, as the world’s two largest economies, two largest consumers of energy and two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, must work together on the issue of climate change as unilateral action from either country is insufficient. Kerry highlights the importance of cooperative efforts by pointing out that even if the United States eliminated all of its greenhouse gas emissions, this would still not be enough to counteract carbon pollution from China, and vice versa.
Kerry notes that the US and China have come to this accord well before the deadline established by the international community, expressing hope that the agreement will “inject momentum into the global climate negotiations” and that other countries will be inspired to put forth ambitious targets. Kerry elaborates that as the world’s largest economies, energy consumers and polluters, the US and China have the responsibility to lead. He notes that this bilateral collaborative effort marks a “milestone in the United States-China relationship” and that this breakthrough in “climate diplomacy” may be a first step toward a world that is more prosperous and more secure.
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Kerry, John. “China, America and Our Warming Planet”. The New York Times. 11 November 2014. The New York Times Web.