Wednesday, November 12, 2014: The tabling of national climate action commitments by the world's two major polluters, the US and China, adds welcome momentum to what will amount to our first steps in unison down a low carbon development pathway that brings us closer to a phase out fossil fuel pollution in favour of 100% renewable energy.
Other countries should see these "game-changing" announcements by the US and China as a strong signal of commitment to the collective international effort to act on climate change as they prepare their own national plans.
The US and China's announcement comes hot on the heels of the EU's 2030 climate target which means that countries representing more than half the world's GDP have outlined their first offers which will form the foundation of a comprehensive, global agreement to limit climate change due in Paris in December 2015.
Of course, to take advantage of all the benefits that climate action can deliver, such as better public health, more jobs and stronger economies, China and the US can both do more. To more quickly speed up the on-going transition to renewable energy, China can, for example, work to peak its coal consumption by 2020, while the US can put money on the table at the Green Climate Fund pledging conference next week, allowing developing countries to boost their own action. Such steps will further build confidence in national capitals as they build their own climate action plans.
In addition, with the international community still working out the parameters of the Paris agreement, the US and China - along with all countries - need to factor in the need to review the collective pledges once they are in order that they can be assessed for fairness and scaled up to meet the agreed threshold beyond which the climate will spin out of control.
Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 900 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. More at: www.climatenetwork.org
Contact: Ria Voorhaar, CAN International, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: +49 157 3173 5568