The United States and China’s New Climate Change Commitments: Elements, implications and reactions
On November 11, 2014 the United States and China announced a bilateral agreement to cooperate on clean energy development and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
For the United States, the new target seeks to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2025, while China committed to peak emissions by 2030 and to endeavour to meet its target sooner than that. Both targets are a significant step forward for climate negotiations for 2015, as the two highest-emitting countries have made important commitments to address their greenhouse gas emissions and, more importantly, to show a cooperative approach that will seek to build trust and facilitate energy transition globally. The agreement also marks the end of the coal era, as the two superpowers are moving away from coal-fired energy generation and shifting to natural gas and renewables, pushing forward a greater need for research and development in clean energy and technology. This briefing note looks at the elements of the plans and their implications for energy generation, international reaction to the announcement, and what the agreement means for Canada.