On Wednesday, the United States and China reached an ambitious agreement to reduce carbon emissions. President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping announced the deal at China’s APEC Trade Summit. The agreement requires the U.S. to cut 26 to 28 percent of its emissions by 2025 and China to increase its non-fossil fuel usage to 20 percent by 2030. In addition, China must peak its carbon emissions in 2030 or earlier.
In a New York Times op-ed, Secretary of State John Kerry praised the agreement as a strong start in fighting climate change, remarking, “Two countries regarded for 20 years as the leaders of opposing camps in climate negotiations have come together to find common ground, determined to make lasting progress on an unprecedented global challenge.” The nations hope that the agreement, which would cut each nations’ emissions by a third over the next 20 years, will encourage other countries to follow suit.
Still, the planned cuts could be difficult for the U.S. to execute. Although the agreement does not require congressional approval, Republican lawmakers could interfere when Obama takes actions to fulfill the agreement, and even if it is successfully carried out, the non-legally-binding agreement is not guaranteed to prevent further global warming.