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In China-U.S. Climate Pact, Hope for Global Talks and Evidence of China's Shift

Obama (left) and Xi at a banquet in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing
Obama (left) and Xi at a banquet in the Great Hall of the People in BeijingPhotograph by Greg Baker/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

There’s little hope for the planet to avoid many of the troubling climate-change scenarios scientists have predicted without cooperation between the world’s biggest and second-largest carbon emitters: China and the U.S., respectively. While President Barack Obama was in Beijing for the APEC summit on Tuesday, he joined with China President Xi Jinping in announcing ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The U.S. pledged to trim net greenhouse gas emissions at least 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. China has adopted targets to increase the share of renewable energy in its total energy mix to 20 percent by 2030 and to see its total carbon emissions peak the same year.