President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping struck a historic climate change agreement in Beijing last night, vowing that the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases will each undertake steep cuts in the coming decade and will work together toward a new global deal.
The United States will cut emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, a target the White House declared can be met “under existing law”—that is, without the need for Congress to pass legislation. China will peak its fast-rising emissions by 2030 at the latest, while also increasing its share of non-fossil energy to 20 percent in that same period.
The U.S. target, already coming under fire from Republicans, will go into effect in 2020 and will become America’s official offering for a new global agreement expected to be signed in Paris next year. According to the White House, the United States will double the pace of emissions cuts from a current average 1.2 percent annually to 2.3 to 2.8 percent per year in the early part of the next decade. The goal: an 80 percent cut in America’s emissions by midcentury.