September 22, 2015 – U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping will make climate change a top focus during meetings in Washington this week. The leaders are expected to build on last fall’s historic joint agreement to curb U.S. and Chinese carbon emissions and boost development of cleaner energy supplies.
Xi arrived in Seattle today for his first state visit. The Chinese president is slated to meet with Obama Thursday night and Friday at the White House, where the two will discuss climate issues, cyber security, China’s military ambitions in Asia and the country’s recent economic troubles.
Obama and Xi last discussed climate issues in November during Obama’s trip to Beijing. After months of negotiations, the two administrations announced joint commitments to curb their countries’ carbon footprints.
Obama pledged to cut America’s emissions by up to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. Xi proposed to cap China’s rapidly rising emissions within the next 15 years, the first time China agreed to halt its growth in carbon pollution.
China is now the world’s top emitter of carbon dioxide, a title it wrested from the United States in 2006 as the Chinese economy soared and energy consumption exploded.
China accounted for more than a quarter of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2012, primarily by burning coal, oil and natural gas to power factories and vehicles. (Recent studies, however, suggest huge uncertainties in data from China on its carbon emissions).
The United States is the second largest emitter, contributing to over 14 percent of total global emissions in 2012.