U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have signed a landmark agreement on the carbon emission reductions over the next two decades.
On the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing, the leaders held bilateral talks in which US agreed to cut carbon emissions by 26%-28% by 2025, while China agreed to make the same level of cuts by around 2030.
The climate deal made between China and the United States, the world’s No.1 and No.2 carbon polluters, was worked out quietly between the two nations for nine months and included a letter from Mr. Obama to Mr. Xi proposing a joint approach to negotiate a new global climate agreement by 2015.
As part of the agreement, Mr. Obama announced that the United States would emit 26%-28% less carbon in 2025 than it did in 2005. That is double the pace of reduction it targeted for the period from 2005 to 2020.
In addition to China’s goal to reach peak carbon emissions by 2030, Mr. Xi also vowed to increase its share of non-fossil fuels, like solar power and windmills, to about 20% by 2030.
The White House said in a formal statement that China, for the first time, has agreed on carbon reduction, describing it as an "an energy revolution".
The statement read: "The United States and China hope that by announcing these targets now, they can inject momentum into the global climate negotiations and inspire other countries to join in coming forward with ambitious actions as soon as possible, preferably by the first quarter of 2015. The two Presidents resolved to work closely together over the next year to address major impediments to reaching a successful global climate agreement in Paris."
A senior Obama administration told the CNN: "Congress may try to stop us, but we believe that with control of Congress changing hands, we can proceed with the authority we already have. This is really the crusade of a narrow group of people who are politically motivated and have made this a cause celebre, but we believe we will be successful."