US, China Ink Landmark Climate Change Declaration at LA Summit

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – U.S. and Chinese leaders on Tuesday signed a landmark declaration on climate change at a summit hosted by the Los Angeles mayor.
     The White House described the declaration signed by leaders from the two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases as the “first of its kind” and a “concrete statement of intent” to “implement ambitious, verifiable actions to address climate change and simultaneously to support and expand bilateral cooperation and dialogue.”
     President Barack Obama reached an agreement with President Xi Jinping last November to reduce emissions 28 percent by 2025 while China has agreed to halt the rise in emissions by 2030.
     The declaration comes ahead of a global summit on climate change in Paris this fall, at which President Obama and President Xi are expected to push for all nations to sign an accord to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
     During the first morning of the LA summit, California Gov. Jerry Brown and Mayor Eric Garcetti underlined the importance of the new declaration and the enormity of the challenge ahead.
     “This is going to take imagination. It’s going to take science. It’s going to take technology. And it’s going to take the political leaders at every level doing more and more,” Brown said. “Across the entire specter of civilization, mankind has to rise to this incredible existential challenge.”
     Among the new initiatives, cities in China will form a new alliance with the goal of reaching peak years for carbon dioxide emissions ahead of the 2030 national goal.
     The cities of Beijing and Guangzhou have said that they will halt the rise of carbon dioxide emissions by the end of 2020, ten years earlier than first planned.
     Cities, counties and states in the United States have pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions. California says it will reduce emissions to 80 or 90 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Seattle, meanwhile, says that it plans to eliminate net greenhouse gas pollution in 35 years.
     “As home to over half the world’s population that’s responsible for 70 percent of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions, cities are ground zero in the fight against climate change,” Garcetti said. “With this declaration, we are turning ambitious promises into tangible and specific progress – progress that not only meets national emissions goals, but surpasses them. As mayors, it’s our mandate to create more livable cities, but it’s our calling to create a more livable world.”
     During the summit, LA announced that it was partnering with the city of Zhenjiang to endorse the Subnational Global Climate Leadership Memorandum of Understanding that has set a goal of limiting warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. Scientists have warned that warming in excess of that temperature could have catastrophic effects.
     LA has also created memorandums of understanding with Beijing and Shenzhen that will allow the cities to share information on smart transportation and green buildings, with a target of reducing pollution at city ports.
     The state, provincial and local governments of the two nations announced several other commitments as part of the new declaration.
     In addition to Garcetti and Brown, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and Beijing mayor Wang Anshun took the stage at the JW Marriott Hotel during the first day of the summit. The event will conclude tomorrow with a speech from Vice President Joe Biden.
     “The U.S. – China Climate Leaders Summit fulfills a key element of the U.S.-China joint announcement on climate change by Presidents Obama and Xi last November, and helps to ensure that the ambitious actions to address climate change that both leaders committed to will be implemented at the state and local level, where they matter most,” the White House said in a statement.
     Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Connecticut, Portland, Seattle, Houston, Salt Lake City, Des Moines, Carmel, Indiana, Pinecrest, Florida, Miami-Dade County, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington joined the action to cut greenhouse gas pollution.

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