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Change of Heart: World's Biggest Polluters China and US Pledge to Turn Paris Agreement Into Reality

Sep 03, 2016 08:52 AM EDT
Beijing Issues Red Alert On Air Pollution For The First Time
As a part of its campaign to utilize more renewable power sources, Beijing, China's capital city, said it will cut down its coal use by 30 percent this year.
(Photo : Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

The Paris Agreement on climate change may soon kick into action as China ratifies the pact on Saturday, with the U.S., another super pollutor, to follow suit.

Game-Changing Decisions from Super Polluters

According to Bloomberg, China President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama may announce the new agreement before the G20 leader's summit to be held in Hangzhou, China on Sunday. Both countries are responsible for about 38 percent of worldwide of greenhouse gas emissions (China accounts for the 25 percent).

China's National People's Congress has voted to adopt "the proposal to review and ratify the Paris Agreement, Xinhua news agency said as quoted by China has pledged to decrease its emission by 2030 while the U.S. says its commited to make a change by 2025, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below its 2005 level.

International Agreement to End Climate Change

The Paris Agreement aims to keep global temperature under 2C. It also hopes to raise a yearly climate budget of $100 billion to be used in developing countries, as well as "achieve a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century," BBC reports.

This change is welcome news for Alvin Lin of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "China and the US, the two largest developing and developed country economies and emitters, joining the Paris Agreement shows that the global community can come together to address the threat of climate change," he said.

Importance of G20

The international agreement also aims to get rid of fossil fuels such as coal, which contributes to pollution in the atmosphere, and instead shift to more renewable sources. Most of the United Nations member countries have already agreed with this move, hoping to avoid droughts, storms and dramatic rise of sea level in the future.

"If G20 countries were to rid themselves of their reliance on coal, this would significantly impact their ability to increase their climate pledges and get their emissions trajectories on a below 2C pathway," said Niklas Hohne of the NewClimate Institute.

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