US-China Climate Agreement: A Game-Changer for the Paris COP21?
The United States and China announced a bilateral climate agreement that created unprecedented political momentum for the Paris COP21 to be held in December 2015. Yet, it is unclear whether such a deal is a game-changer or business-as-usual policy.
From a political perspective, it certainly changes much the game in Paris. For the first time ever, the world’s largest carbon emitter announced a peak date for its carbon emissions. A closer look at the US-China climate agreement shows a different picture. If seen in terms of concrete policy action, the US’ pledge comes closer to a pathway compatible with a 2°C target. By contrast, China’s pledges are far from a consistent 2°C pathway.
As the Paris COP21 approaches, it becomes clear that China matters more than ever for an effective climate deal. In the best case scenario, however, Beijing will support a start-now-sprint-later agreement in Paris.