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US And China Announce Climate Deal

{!hitembed ID=”hitembed_1″ width=”500″ height=”281″ align=”none” !}

The United States and China have announced that they have reached a climate deal after extensive negotiations over a nine month period. According to the announcement the US will reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 while China is claiming its peak year for emissions will be 2030 and that it will expand the share of its energy consumption by “zero-emission sources” such as renewables and nuclear power.

The ambitious plan faces numerous hurdles. For one, the US and China account for 40% of the world’s climate admissions and have economies structured around massive use of carbon emitting energies. It is going to be extremely difficult to transform those economies in such a short time unless both are willing to scale back overall energy use – a truly unpopular notion in both nations. Second is the global rivalry between China and the United States that could lead to increased tensions and a disinterest in fulfilling a mutually shared commitment. And third, of course, is that the new Republican dominated Congress backed heavily by oil and gas interests will balk at any carbon reductions.

Administration officials acknowledged that Mr. Obama could face opposition to his plans from a Republican-controlled Congress. While the agreement with China needs no congressional ratification, lawmakers could try to roll back Mr. Obama’s initiatives, undermining the United States’ ability to meet the new reduction targets.

Still, Mr. Obama’s visit, which came days after a setback in the midterm elections, allowed him to reclaim some of the momentum he lost at home. As the campaign was turning against the Democrats last month, Mr. Obama quietly dispatched John Podesta, a senior adviser who oversees climate policy, to Beijing to try to finalize a deal.

It is worth noting that one of the first agenda items Congressional Republicans plan on pursuing is pushing through the Keystone XL pipeline. Though they may not have to wait until they officially take over to vote on the proposal as Senate Democrats want a vote in the lame duck session to help Senator Mary Landrieu’s chances in her run-off election.

While the US-China plan is great optics – especially as a backdrop for the 2015 climate talks in Paris – there is a considerable chasm between planning to reduce carbon emissions and transforming an economy and actually doing it.

CommunityThe Bullpen

US And China Announce Climate Deal

{!hitembed ID=”hitembed_1″ width=”500″ height=”281″ align=”none” !}

The United States and China have announced that they have reached a climate deal after extensive negotiations over a nine month period. According to the announcement the US will reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 while China is claiming its peak year for emissions will be 2030 and that it will expand the share of its energy consumption by “zero-emission sources” such as renewables and nuclear power.

The ambitious plan faces numerous hurdles. For one, the US and China account for 40% of the world’s climate admissions and have economies structured around massive use of carbon emitting energies. It is going to be extremely difficult to transform those economies in such a short time unless both are willing to scale back overall energy use – a truly unpopular notion in both nations. Second is the global rivalry between China and the United States that could lead to increased tensions and a disinterest in fulfilling a mutually shared commitment. And third, of course, is that the new Republican dominated Congress backed heavily by oil and gas interests will balk at any carbon reductions.

Administration officials acknowledged that Mr. Obama could face opposition to his plans from a Republican-controlled Congress. While the agreement with China needs no congressional ratification, lawmakers could try to roll back Mr. Obama’s initiatives, undermining the United States’ ability to meet the new reduction targets.

Still, Mr. Obama’s visit, which came days after a setback in the midterm elections, allowed him to reclaim some of the momentum he lost at home. As the campaign was turning against the Democrats last month, Mr. Obama quietly dispatched John Podesta, a senior adviser who oversees climate policy, to Beijing to try to finalize a deal.

It is worth noting that one of the first agenda items Congressional Republicans plan on pursuing is pushing through the Keystone XL pipeline. Though they may not have to wait until they officially take over to vote on the proposal as Senate Democrats want a vote in the lame duck session to help Senator Mary Landrieu’s chances in her run-off election.

While the US-China plan is great optics – especially as a backdrop for the 2015 climate talks in Paris – there is a considerable chasm between planning to reduce carbon emissions and transforming an economy and actually doing it.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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