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US-CHINA CLIMATE DEAL BRINGS WORLD CLOSER TO LIMITING WARMING TO 2 DEGREES

11/17/2014

Researchers for the Climate Action Tracker say that the deal to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions reached between the United States and China—the world’s two largest emitters—on Wednesday, November 12, brings the world closer to limiting rising temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius. This level is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change target for avoiding the worst effects of climate change. Under the deal, the United States has pledged to reduce emissions to about 28% below 2005 levels by 2025, doubling the current pace of emissions reductions. China, in turn, agreed that its emissions would peak by 2030 and that it will source approximately 20% of its energy from clean energy. One important element not covered in the agreement is the level at which China’s emissions will peak; however, the 20% goal is significant. The White House notes that “It will require China to deploy an additional 800-1,000 gigawatts of nuclear, wind, solar and other zero emission generation capacity by 2030 – more than all the coal-fired power plants that exist in China today and close to total current electricity generation capacity in the United States.” While the Climate Action Tracker’s report says this deal brings the world closer to the 2-degree goal, the report notes that more aggressive action will be needed. The deal is seen as an important preliminary step to achieving a strong climate agreement at the Paris conference in 2015. For the full story, see: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-13/u-s-china-co2-pledges-close-gap-to-2-degree-goal-study.html, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/11/11/fact-sheet-us-china-joint-announcement-climate-change-and-clean-energy-c, http://news.mongabay.com/2014/1112-hance-china-us-climate-deal.html#sthash.ji5joQz1.dpbs.