President Obama will be heading to China this week to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The trip has been a long-term, and well-planned event for both countries with a serious focus around climate change. This week though, President Obama will try to effectively deliver a crucial message if improving the global climate is going to become a reality.
The message will be that working together to stop climate change, and specifically if the two nations work together to cut carbon dioxide emissions, the overall mission to improve the health of the Earth will not be as difficult or painstaking.
The work though that the two countries have been doing, and the discussions that the two have been having to this point – behind closed doors – and now in the public spotlight, will be setting the stage for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. The conference will take place next summer in Parris, France and since this summer has been at the center of major conversation around global climate change.
Secretary of State John Kerry had some encouraging words of support for the potential of China and the US working together to cut overall emissions globally. “We hope that the partnership between China and the United States can help set an example for global leadership and for the seriousness of purpose on those targets and on the negotiations overall.”
The larger issue at play is the fact that both countries are facing serious political opposition to limiting the carbon output of the respective countries. The opposition is what ultimately plagues these issues and makes changing so difficult. The European Union announced plans to cut back emissions by 40% by the year 2030, and similarly President Obama is expected to follow suit with a similar style plan to cut emissions.
However, recent turnout of the midterm elections creates a situation where President Obama will likely face even harsher opposition to cutting emissions. It would seem though that the President and his administration are not immediately concerned with what Congress might think of his global climate concerns. Joanna Lewis, the associate professor of science and international affairs at Georgetown University noted that “The most important message the U.S. could convey is that it is serious.”
Moving forward it is important that the countries take realistic, but serious steps to improve the global situation with regards to climate change.