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U.S. & China emmissions deal is first step but more needed

November 13, 2014

The world’s two most egregious air polluters – the U.S. and China – announced a deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions during the next 20 years. In Beijing Wednesday, President Barack Obama said the U.S. intends to get at least 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. China’s President Xi Jingping was slightly less concrete, saying he planned for the country to reach its height of carbon pollution by “around 2030.” The peak, the Chinese President said, will result from what he called an “energy revolution” in the country where many densely populated areas are beset with toxic smog. The agreement between the two countries in and of itself represents a major political step forward, but is it substantial enough to avert a global climate crisis? FSRN’s Nell Abram discussed the details of the deal with Asher Miller, Executive Director of the Post Carbon Institute.

Nell Abram: First, is this a binding agreement?

Asher Miller: Not yet it’s not binding. They made a pledge but the proof will be in the pudding later.

NA: In the United States, international treaties require a supermajority of the Senate. Particularly after the Republican gains in last week’s midterm elections, what are the chances of this deal gaining Senate approval?

AM: Well right now I wouldn’t put them as very high, of course. And that’s, I guess, the real question, which is that would this be binding and can Obama get the support that he needs or are there other ways he can try and get this through? And then there’s also a question of us seeing through these commitments after Obama’s not president any longer. Who knows what’s going to happen after the next election…

Originally published at Free Speech Radio.

  • EVHappy

    Holding a sealed envelope in front of my forehead, eyes closed, while saying, “An agreement that will amount to less than .001 percent drop in emissions over 20 years.”

    Opens up envelope, pulls out a piece of paper and reads, “US China Emissions Deal”

    No government policies that restrict fossil fuel burning will hold up as humans suffer through the second half of the fossil fuel era. Human will try to burn everything, everywhere and kill everything trying desperately to keep business as usual. They will ultimately be unsuccessful.

    The only question is, how bad will it be when we reach the bottom of the fossil fuel curve.

  • Sustainable Chris

    It is hard to be optimistic about political deals in this context.