Potent Promises

Climate Change Pledges Predict Progress




President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have both made ambitious pledges to combat climate change. Jinping pledged that China’s CO2 emissions would peak around 2030; the first time that Beijing has set such a target. Obama promised that by 2025, the U.S. will have reduced its emissions by 23 to 26 percent from 2005 levels, twice as much as Washington had previously offered.

The carbon emission deal that has been reached between China and the United States is a promising breakthrough. The world’s biggest economies account for one-third of the planet’s emissions, so their initiative should help persuade other countries to reach a global emissions agreement at a United Nations climate summit next year in Paris.

President Obama faces opposition in the Republican-controlled Congress, although aides say he can act unilaterally. Moreover, rapidly evolving energy conditions in the United States, from the increased supply of natural gas to the expansion of renewable energies, will ease the pain of carbon cuts.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Climate Consensus

Scientists are warning that if humans don’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions drastically and maintain natural carbon sinks like forests within 10 years, the impact on Earth’s climate will be catastrophic.

Big Melt

A thaw over the tip of the planet this year warmed the surface of the North Pole as high as 35 degrees—a once-rare event that has occurred during four of the last five winters.

Sinking City

By factoring in the settling of artificial landfill as water aquifers empty, scientists now estimate that 166 square miles of land around the bay is in jeopardy of being underwater by 2100.

In Vitro Corals

Frustrated by vanishing reefs, scientists are fertilizing coral sperm and eggs in labs and returning them to the wild.

Algae Alchemy

Two Dutch designers are processing live algae into material that can be used for 3-D printing of such items as shampoo bottles and trash bins.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags