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640 Billion Tons of CO2: Climate Community Leaders Declare U.S.-China Deal a Game-Changer

The climate and energy community is erupting with optimism in the wake of the U.S.-China climate agreement, with analysts from Climate Progress’ Joe Romm to author Naomi Klein declaring the deal a game-changer.

The accord “changes the trajectory of global carbon pollution emissions, greatly boosting the chances for a global deal in Paris in 2015. The deal would keep, cumulatively, some 640 billion tons of CO2 emissions out of the air this century,” Romm writes.

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And that means the deal “is truly a game-changer,” he continues. “In fact, you could make a strong case that prior to this deal, neither the U.S. nor China was seriously in the game of trying to stave off climate catastrophe. Now both countries are.

“When you add the recent European Union (EU) pledge [2] to cut total emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, we now have countries representing more than half of all global emissions making serious commitments—and that in turn puts pressure on every other country.”

In a commentary circulating on Facebook November 13, Klein said the agreement was well-timed, giving the climate community “a badly-needed piece of good news” after U.S. midterm elections. It “makes it harder for Republicans to break Obama’s promises,” unless they want to sour relations with America’s biggest trading partner, and “robs climate obstructionists of their best argument.”

The deal also underscores the power of the social movements that brought 350,000 climate protesters to New York City in September [3], and will galvanize North American opposition to tar sands/oil sands pipelines and coal terminals. But Klein warns that international trade deals could still trump any climate agreement, and that the climate movement still has work to do to get “climate policy in line with the severity of the crisis.”