MARCH 31, 2016 AT 3:25 PM ET
BY CASSANDRA MARKETOS
On April 22, the U.S. and China will both sign and join the global agreement to combat climate change.
Over the past three years, climate change efforts have become a pillar of the U.S.-China bilateral relationship. Both countries efforts together and at home to build green, low-carbon and climate-resilient economies have helped galvanize global actions – culminating this past December in the historic, ambitious Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement, which establishes a long term, worldwide framework to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, will enter into force – or begin – once 55 countries accounting for at least 55% of global emissions formally commit to undertaking the low carbon measures it outlines. This is an ambitious plan and, now, the United States and China have brought us within reach of its execution.
Today, President Obama and President Xi Jinping announced that they will both sign the Paris Agreement on April 22 (Earth Day), and will formally join the agreement as soon as possible this year.
What makes this such a critical milestone?
As the world’s two largest polluters, the United States and China account for 40% of global emissions. With their joint commitment to the Paris Agreement, the threshold for implementation is well within reach.
The Paris Agreement puts in place the framework to achieve the emissions reductions we need. By coming forward today with the most significant step possible towards early entry into force, the U.S. and China are demonstrating to the international community that there is no turning back on the path towards a low carbon future.
Today’s announcement is a fitting third act in our joint effort to advance international climate action, and will accelerate the momentum that the U.S. and China have worked to sustain since our first joint action on climate change in 2014.