Obama Cuts Climate Deal With China, Right Wing Freaks Out

Obama Cuts Climate Deal With China, Right Wing Freaks Out November 13, 2014

At the multi-nation meetings a few days ago in China, President Obama announced that a deal had been reached with Chinese President Xi Jinping that would, for the first time, set specific targets for both countries — the two biggest polluters in the world — to meet for total CO2 emissions. Naturally, the Republicans are losing their minds over it.

A groundbreaking agreement struck Wednesday by the United States and China puts the world’s two worst polluters on a faster track to curbing the heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming. With the clock ticking on a worldwide climate treaty, the two countries sought to move beyond their troubled history as environmental adversaries and spur other nations.

The U.S., a chief proponent of the prospective treaty, is setting an ambitious new goal to stop pumping as much carbon dioxide into the air. China, whose appetite for cheap energy has grown along with its burgeoning economy, agreed for the first time to a self-imposed deadline of 2030 for when its emissions will top out…

Still, the dual announcements from President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping, unveiled Wednesday in Beijing, came as a shock to environmentalists who had pined for such action but suspected China’s reluctance and Obama’s weakened political standing might interfere. In Washington, Republicans were equally taken aback, accusing Obama of saddling future presidents with an unrealistic burden…

“This is a major milestone in the U.S.-China relationship,” Obama said, with Xi at his side. “It shows what’s possible when we work together on an urgent global challenge.”

But Obama’s opponents in Congress balked, dismissing the new U.S. target as “job-destroying red tape” that would squeeze the middle class.

“This unrealistic plan that the president would dump on his successor would ensure higher utility rates and far fewer jobs,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who is set to become the majority leader early next year.

Yes, yes, that’s the response we always hear. If the Republicans had their way, the government would take no action at all to abate pollution and protect the environment. Why? Because their paymasters demand it. But the argument we’ve been hearing from them for years goes like this: Why should we cut our emissions when China will never cut theirs? Why should the U.S. alone bear the burden? And yet the moment the Chinese do agree to take action, they just revert to the same old argument they’ve always made. It’s all part of their War on Clean Air.

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  • blf

    A neat thing about the deal is it does not require Congressional approval (it’s not a treaty). Hence, the thugs cannot sabotage it by refusing to consider or failing to confirm. As far as I currently understand it, they would have to actively do something to have any effect, suggesting that (if they really do do something) they would be seen to be toadies in the pay of extremely rich kooks and companies, and would be seen to prefer planet-threatening negative actions.

    However, there is some concern that China’s intent to peak no later than 2030 will happen anyways (i.e., that it is more-or-less business-as-usual for the Chinese). And in any case, 2030 is an uncomfortably long time from now. Even with these and other caveats, it’s an extremely important deal, as it means the two biggest GHG-emitters are on record with notably concrete and achievable intentions, which may just be the kickstart needed to stop the global flaffing about.

  • busterggi

    “Obama (fill in the blank), Republicans freak out” has been the daily headline since he was elected.

  • Obama ties his shoe, Republicans freak out: Look at him, trying to be “one of the people” by tying his own shoes.

    Marine ties Obama’s shoe, Republicans freak out: Demeaning our noble Marines like that. For shame!

    Obama leaves his shoe untied, Republicans freak out: What a slob. He’s shaming all of America.

    Sorter version: Obama exists! Republicans freak out.

  • Every time I hear a rethuglican talk about saving middle-class Americans, I automatically check for my wallet.

  • Lofty

    For the Republicans, every cloud has a dark brown lining.

  • The agreement is only a first for China. The United States has had a specific reduction target of 17% since Obama took office in 2009, which this deal increases to 28%. Considering that we’ve already cut emissions by 12% since 2007, this deal shouldn’t require any significant changes for the US either. What it does is send a message to other nations that have resisted setting their own targets.

  • pixiedust

    Now look, there is no point in the US and China agreeing to cut greenhouse gases until Guinea-Bissau is on board.

    (With apologies to Modus for trespassing on his turf.)

  • It is estimated that air pollution causes up to 200,000 premature deaths a year in the U.S. and up to 7 million worldwide.

    Wouldn’t the “pro-life” party be for something that would save millions of lives each year?

  • machintelligence

    Naturally, the Republicans are losing their minds over it.

    I wouldn’t worry overmuch. As weak and sick as their minds are, they wont go very far.

  • dingojack

    Lofty(#5) – surely you mean every cloud has an URBAN lining (wink, wink).

    patrickashton (#6) – for Australia it’ll have to wait ’till 2016, at the earliest.

    machintelligence (#9) – reminds me of: “Don’t let you mind wander son. It’s to weak and feeble to be out on it’s own”.


  • davem

    agreed for the first time to a self-imposed deadline of 2030 for when its emissions will top out…

    Given the rapid expansion by China, that’s at least 16 years too late. They could double, or even triple their emissions by then.