We now have a good faith effort on the part of the planet’s two leading carbon emitters to work together to lower planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions. It is probably our last-ditch opportunity to stave off dangerous human interference with the climate.
This historic agreement between the U.S. and China provides a glimmer of hope that we will see something significant come out of Paris. (Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University).
In this article I raise this question: is the climate deal just political camouflage or will the combined leadership of the US and China be enough for world leaders to reach a legally-binding climate agreement at the Paris 2015 Summit?
The China-US Climate Deal – Smokescreen or Strong Signal?
It isn’t binding in any way. In effect President Obama is writing an IOU to be cashed by future presidents and Congresses (and Xi is doing the same for future Politburos). If they take the actions to meet the targets, then it’s meaningful, but for now it’s a paper promise. And since physics is uninterested in spin, all the hard work lies ahead ~ Bill McKibben, 350.Org.
It is not remotely enough to keep us out of climate trouble. We’ve increased the temperature less than a degree and that’s been enough to melt enormous quantities of ice, not to mention set the weather on berserk. So this plan to let the increase more than double is folly — though it is good to see that the two sides have at least agreed not to undermine that two degrees target, the one tiny achievement of the Copenhagen conference fiasco ~ Bill McKibben, 350.Org.
It’s not, in any way, a stretch goal. These numbers are easy — if you were really being cynical, you could say they’re trying to put a floor under the retreat from carbon, to manage a retreat from fossil fuels instead of really putting carbon on the run. The Germans, for instance, will be moving in on 60 percent of their energy from clean sources by the mid-2020s, when we’ll still be cutting carbon emissions by small increments ~ Bill McKibben, 350.Org.
It is historic. John Kerry was right to use the phrase in his New York Times oped announcing the deal: for the first time a developing nation has agreed to eventually limit its emissions, which has become a necessity for advancing international climate negotiations ~ Bill McKibben, 350.Org.
It is proof, if any more was needed, that renewable energy is ready to go. The Chinese say they’ll be using clean sources to get 20 percent of their energy by 2030 — which is not just possible, it should be easy. Which they know because they’ve revolutionized the production of solar energy, driving down the cost of panels by 90 percent or more in the last decade ~ Bill McKibben, 350.Org.
It is a good way to put pressure on other nations. I’ve just come back from India, which has worked hard to avoid any targets of any sort. But the lesson from this pact is, actual world leaders at least need to demonstrate they’re talking about climate; it makes the lead-up to the global negotiations in Paris next year more interesting ~ Bill McKibben, 350.Org.
“You cannot solve this problem with the US and China alone. You cannot solve this problem without the US and China,” says Tim Profeta, Duke University climate policy expert.
Watch the following video. US-China Climate Deal Analysis.
Published on Nov 12, 2014
Standard YouTube Licence As
It is crystal clear to this blogger that the setting of attainable specific targets by the world’s two largest carbon emitters will initiate an unprecedented dialogue on the reduction of emissions. The deal is well-timed as nations gear up for the Lima, Peru, climate talks starting in December 2014. This is the prelude for the Paris Summit in December of 2015.
It all seems very promising! As ClimateToday reports, we are starting to see bricks falling, one by one, from the climate resistance wall.
Rolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of BoomerWarrior.Org. He’s a Climate Reality leader, a blogger and an Climate Activist. Rolly has been published in several online publications – Climate Change Guide, World Daily, Examiner, The Canadian, 350Ottawa, ClimateMama, MyEarth360, GreenDivas, The Elephant, Countercurrents, Georgian Bay News.