WASHINGTON — President Obama’s top climate change negotiator met with his Chinese counterpart in Los Angeles on Tuesday to announce joint actions by cities, states and provinces in both countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The summit meeting followed a historic accord reached in Beijing in November by Mr. Obama and President Xi Jinping, who pledged to enact policies to cut emissions significantly. Mr. Obama said the United States would reduce planet-warming carbon emissions up to 28 percent by 2025, while Mr. Xi vowed that Chinawould halt its emissions growth by 2030.
That announcement by the world’s two biggest greenhouse gas polluters was seen as a breakthrough after decades of deadlock on efforts to forge an effective global accord on climate change. Now Mr. Obama and Mr. Xi are pushing for completion of such a deal, signed by every nation on earth, at a United Nations summit meeting in Paris this fall.
White House officials said Tuesday’s meeting was intended to demonstrate that both countries were moving forward to meet the terms of their agreement. Last month, Mr. Obama unveiled a sweeping regulation aimed at forcing heavily polluting power plants to cut emissions, and the United States and China have submitted details of their national plans to the United Nations.
Brian Deese, Mr. Obama’s senior adviser on climate change, said the additional actions from cities, states and provinces could add momentum to those efforts. The administration also hopes that the announcements will quiet critics who say any climate deal will hamstring the United States and cede an economic advantage to China.
“Last year was about the U.S. and China making those commitments,” Mr. Deese said. “This year, having made those commitments, needs to be a year of implementation, as our two countries demonstrate commitment to implement those goals with concrete steps.”
The choice of Los Angeles for the meeting was no coincidence. California has by far the most aggressive state-level climate change policy in the country. The state, which has an economy larger than that of all but a handful of countries, has put in place a “cap and trade” system, in which an overall limit is imposed on greenhouse gas pollution, and companies buy and sell permits to pollute.