by Marjorie Sun, Alliance Executive Director
This just in! President Obama and President Xi Jinping declared that they would sign the Paris Agreement on climate change on Earth Day, April 22, 2016, the first day the United Nations accord will be open for government signatures.
“Our cooperation and our joint statements were critical in arriving at the Paris agreement, and our two countries have agreed that we will not only sign the agreement on the first day possible, but we’re committing to formally join it as soon as possible this year,” Mr. Obama told reporters at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, where he was meeting with Mr. Xi at the nuclear gathering.
Mr. Obama, who spoke across a table from Mr. Xi, added, “And we urge other countries to do the same.”
Mr. Xi, speaking through an interpreter, said, “As the two biggest economies, China and the U.S. have a responsibility to work together.”
The New York Times reported this week on new research suggesting a disaster scenario of West Antarctic ice sheet disintegration could occur much sooner than previously thought.
“The paper published Wednesday (March 30) does contain some good news. A far more stringent effort to limit emissions of greenhouse gases would stand a fairly good chance of saving West Antarctica from collapse, the scientists found. That aspect of their paper contrasts with other recent studies postulating that a gradual disintegration of West Antarctica may have already become unstoppable.”
Interesting article published today in the Economist:
“The IEA’s most contentious finding is that emissions from China, the world’s biggest polluter, dropped 1.5% last year. Some experts will see this as evidence that China’s emissions will peak within a decade, if they haven’t already. The Chinese government, though, has insisted its emissions will continue to grow until 2030. In a report this month Fergus Green and Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics said the official projections should be taken with a pinch of salt, since the government prefers “to under-promise and over-deliver.”
China recently announced in its five-year plan that the country aims to keep energy consumption within 5 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent by 2020. This marks the first time China has set such a target.
Reuters reported this week that “China has long been considering an energy consumption cap in a bid to improve industrial efficiency, tackle smog and control greenhouse gas emissions, which are the highest in the world. Beijing is also pushing structural reforms to decouple economic growth from energy consumption.”