I am sitting here, writing, with tears of joy running down my cheeks. China and the United States of America, the world’s biggest greenhouse gas polluters, announced a historic agreement to curb carbon emissions. President Obama and President Xi Jinping have been quietly negotiating for nine months — a gestation that means a rebirth of hope. Working together, the world can slow the climate chaos we have unleashed. Bravo to both leaders, and thank you.
The emissions reductions from both countries are ambitious — and can be more so. Amazingly, China announced that 20% of its energy will come from renewable sources in fifteen years. Given the viral way in which new technologies spread — when they aren’t hampered by antiquated utility regulations like ours, this target will be quickly surpassed in China.
The announcement will spur political backlash here. So far, not a single Republican leader has offered an alternative plan for ending carbon and methane emissions. I am hopeful that this will change. We must not let willful ignorance and cynicism win the day. Republicans have long said, correctly, that the United States cannot act alone in curbing climate pollution. Now is their chance to show leadership here at home. There are enormous business opportunities ahead; America should seize them.
Consumers, both here and around the world, will demand new energy technologies to harness the power of the sun and wind — and who knows what else. America can, and should, maintain the creative design and engineering edge that has made us a leader for so many years. The 600 billion dollars — annually! — of subsidies for the wealthy fossil fuel industry should end.
Mothers the world over thank you, President Obama and President Xi Jinping. You are making the world safer for our families.