13 Nov 2014
APChina has publicly announced that its emissions of carbon dioxide will peak by 2030. Picture shows a traffic jam in Beijing. File Photo
To address climate change, India has committed itself to a 20-25 per cent reduction in intensity of carbon emissions by 2020, but the international community will want more
U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have just signed a historic bilateral accord on climate change and clean energy cooperation in Beijing. This accord will have impacts in the run-up to the Paris Conference in December 2015 when the world community is expected to clinch a new agreement to combat global warming. The agreement was in the works no doubt, but it certainly came sooner than expected. Another agreement on trade in technology-intensive industries has been signed and this has great relevance for the World Trade Organization (WTO). With these two accords, the U.S. and China have signalled that they will influence multilateral outcomes through their bilateral agreements.
A historic accord
The accord is historic for a number of reasons. First, China has publicly announced that its emissions of carbon dioxide will peak by 2030 and that the intention is to have the peak year earlier. Second, China will increase the non-fossil fuel share (mainly nuclear, solar and wind) of all energy to around 20 per cent by 2030. Third, the U.S. will cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025 with an aspirational goal of an 80 per cent reduction by 2050. Fourth, the two countries will vastly expand cooperation in clean energy, phasing down of the use of hydrofluorocarbons in refrigerators and air-conditioners, demonstration of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies and climate-smart urbanisation.