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STATEMENT: WRI Response to US-China Climate Announcement: “Make It a Race to the Top”

WASHINGTON (November 12, 2014)— During a presidential trip to China for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping made major climate change announcements. President Obama announced a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions between 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. President Xi announced targets to peak carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 and to increase the share of non-fossil fuel energy to around 20 percent by 2030.

Following is a statement by Andrew Steer, President & CEO, World Resources Institute:

“It’s a new day to have the leaders of the U.S. and China stand shoulder-to-shoulder and make significant commitments to curb their country’s emissions. They have both clearly acknowledged the mounting threat of climate change and the urgency of action. It’s heartening to see this level of cooperation, with climate change at the top of the agenda for the world’s top emitters.

“The U.S. and China should be commended for putting their initial pledges on the table so early. This should inject a jolt of momentum in the lead up to a global climate agreement in Paris.

“The U.S. target shows a serious commitment to action and puts the U.S. on a path to reduce its emissions around 80 percent by mid-century. This pledge is grounded in what is achievable under existing U.S. law. However, we should not underestimate the potential of innovation and technology to bring down costs and make it easier to meet--or even exceed--the proposed targets.

“China’s pledge to increase non-fossil fuel energy and peak emissions around 2030 as early as possible is a major development—and reflects a shift in its position from just a few years ago. But it will be very important to see at what level and what year their emissions peak. Analysis shows that China’s emissions should peak before 2030 to limit the worst consequences of climate change.

Following is a statement of Jennifer Morgan, Director, Climate Program, WRI:

“Make no mistake, more needs to be done. The U.S. and China should strive to achieve the upper range of their commitments and go even further in the future. They can raise the bar to take full advantage of the economic opportunities of a low-carbon future. A growing body of evidence shows that climate action can bring economic benefits and new opportunities. International cooperation, around the CERC and other areas, can help unlock even greater levels of ambition.

“The U.S. and China should make it a race to the top, catalyzing other countries to announce their targets and build momentum leading up to Paris. Today's announcement is a big step in that direction.”

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