Thoughts on the U.S.-China Carbon Emissions Agreement

November 13, 2014

This past weekend, President Obama and Chinese President Xi reached an historic agreement to reduce our two nations’ greenhouse gas emissions. The details of the agreement are not yet available and will need to be reviewed. But the agreement looks promising and could have significant economic and environmental benefits.

The United States has been reluctant to reduce greenhouse emissions without China following suit because unilateral U.S. action would give competitive advantages to China and would have insufficient impact on climate change. But together, our two countries will have a large impact on carbon emission reduction and will offer strong international leadership on addressing climate change. China’s willingness to take strong steps to reduce their emissions creates a win-win situation for both countries. Our nation should continue to develop, market, and install clean energy technology here at home. If China indeed turns to renewable energy sources, they would be on track to install as much renewable energy capacity by 2030 as the entire existing U.S. capacity today. This will create a giant marketplace for American technology, which will create thousands or even millions of new jobs and career paths. Moreover, reducing carbon emissions will greatly improve environmental conditions in both nations. I look forward to reviewing the agreement and to seeing the positive impact it will have on our nation and our world.