U.S. and China Climate Deal is a Welcome Beginning


The sweeping agreement reached between the United States and China on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 has surprised the world, highlighting a ray of compromise in an area of previous dispute between the two nations. I know it certainly surprised me.

In the deal, the United States would cut carbon emissions by 26-28 percent by 2025, and China would reach peak carbon emissions before 2030, and from that point restrict its emissions.

Currently, the US and China are the world’s top polluters. The Environmental Protection Agency puts the percentage of the world’s carbon emissions for the two nations at 19 percent for the United States and 23 percent for China.

Not many were expecting such an announcement, which was jointly unveiled by U.S. President Barack Obama and the President of China, Xi Jinping–but as in past cases, Republicans were quick to fire back. CNN noted harsh responses from Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Senators McConnell and Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) are quoted as saying “the American people spoke up against” the President’s policies in the midterm elections. To them I respond that some matters transcend party politics, petty feuds, and small men. Climate change certainly does this. It appears the Republican Leadership is short sighted. It is their future, too, that depends upon whether or not the nations of the world act on climate change. It is the future of their children and their friends and all of us.

And in the joy of the announcement of this deal, the New York Times reminded us all that according to top scientists, this will not prevent the earth from warming 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit–or in other words, the minimum temperature that will wreak havoc on our planet’s weather, making a much more volatile earth. Horrible storms, droughts, floods and increased sea levels will ensue.

Climate change is going to get us all if we don’t act now. It will–there’s too much science behind that statement to believe otherwise.

In many ways climate change is all about responsibility. The sooner we take responsibility, the sooner we will start to mend our differences with the world, and the sooner we will create a safer future for us all.

The president’s actions are responsible, and applauded here. In the United States especially, where it seems politicians have been increasingly lacking in responsibility, President Obama’s efforts show his great attempt at trying to work out the paramount problem of our time. And we need people who are responsible about climate change.

Rich and poor, black and white, gay and straight, Christian, Muslim and Jew. No one will be left unscathed. Climate change is dark, and for our world, our society, and ourselves we absolutely must begin to implement solutions to save us all.

If you’d like to view the EPA’s statistics on carbon emissions, please click this link