President Obama announced yesterday a new target to cut U.S. net greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. At the same time, President Xi Jinping of China announced targets to peak CO2 emissions around 2030, with the intention to try to peak early, and to increase the non-fossil fuel share of all energy to around 20 percent by 2030.
Together, the U.S. and China account for over one third of global greenhouse gas emissions. The actions they announced are part of the longer range effort to achieve the deep decarbonization of the global economy over time. These actions will also inject momentum into the global climate negotiations on the road to reaching a successful new climate agreement next year in Paris.
The United States will submit its 2025 target to the Framework Convention on Climate Change as an “Intended Nationally Determined Contribution” no later than the first quarter of 2015.
The joint announcement marks the first time China has agreed to peak its CO2 emissions. The U.S says that it expects that China will succeed in peaking its emissions before 2030 but some experts question whether the plan goes far enough in helping check climate change and how China will meet its stated targets.
China’s target to expand total energy consumption coming from zero-emission sources to around 20 percent by 2030 is notable. It will require China to deploy an additional 800-1,000 gigawatts of nuclear, wind, solar and other zero emission generation capacity by 2030 – more than all the coal-fired power plants that exist in China today and close to total current electricity generation capacity in the United States.
Expanding U.S. and China Climate & Clean Energy Cooperation
The U.S. and China have also pledged to strengthen cooperation on climate and clean energy and have agreed, in particular, to:
- Expand Joint Clean Energy Research and Development
- Enhance Cooperation on Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs)
- Launch a Climate-Smart/Low-Carbon Cities Initiative
- Promote Trade in Green Goods
- Demonstrate Clean Energy on the Ground