The United States and China, the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, announced an historic agreement earlier today in which the two nations, often regarded as stiff competitors, if not borderline enemies, will partner together on a broad-ranging package of plans to fight climate change, including new targets to reduce carbon pollution, according to USA Today.
“As the world’s two largest economies, energy consumers and emitters of greenhouse gases, we have a special responsibility to lead the global effort against climate change,” President Barack Obama said Wednesday in a joint news conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping, as quoted by CNN.
“In other words, a strong, cooperative relationship with China is at the heart of our pivot to Asia,” President Obama said, shrugging off criticism that the United States sought to counter China’s rise in the region, as quoted by Reuters. “If the United States is going to continue to lead the world in addressing global challenges, then we have to have the second largest economy and the most populous nation on Earth as our partner.”
“This is clearly a sign of the seriousness and the importance the Chinese government is giving to this issue,” said Barbara Finamore, Asia director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, the environmental advocacy group, in an interview from Hong Kong, as quoted by Mother Jones. “The relationship between the US and China is tricky, but climate has been one of the areas where the two sides can and are finding common ground.”