Skip to content

U.S. and China Outline Agreement on Combating Climate Change

President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping today issued a joint announcement laying out the details of a landmark climate deal between the world’s two largest carbon polluters. The deal includes a promise by China to develop a national cap-and-trade program and to prioritize low-carbon-emitting sources in its electric dispatch. In return, the U.S. will complete new rules for heavy duty vehicles and phase down hydrofluorocarbons, a greenhouse gas that traps a lot of heat but spends less time in the atmosphere than carbon.

The U.S. and China have come closer to agreeing broadly to a ‘form of differentiation which depends on countries actual real circumstances.’ That could amount to a big breakthrough if China can convince other developing countries to follow suit.”

The announcement could help to counter criticism from conservative opponents of the Obama administration’s efforts to fight climate change, who have contended that the United States shouldn’t act because Beijing has done little to reduce its emissions.

This new agreement will build upon the one drafted in 2014 when Obama visited China.  It will help to expand domestic programs to reduce heat-trapping carbon emissions, develop new and cleaner sources of energy and find ways to finance these types of projects.