Global-warming talks in Paris next year have a better chance of reaching a productive conclusion now that the two biggest economies in the world — which also happen to be the two biggest climate polluters — have promised to curb greenhouse gases dramatically by 2030. But the questions other nations will be asking as they analyze the forward-looking agreement reached by President
The latter question applies especially to Obama, who already faces opposition to the deal from Republican lawmakers, who will soon control both houses of
It is in ways easier for China, which is now by far the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, to meet its goals. The country is already under pressure from its own citizens to clean up its terrible air pollution problems. And it has been building solar energy capacity at a fast pace, so meeting its goal of 20% renewable power by 2030 should be achievable. It would also have to cap greenhouse gas emissions by that year.
Xi also has more flexibility than Obama; China is not a democratic power, which means that Xi doesn't contend with term limits or open elections. That may not make for good government, but it does make his job easier.
On this side of the Pacific Ocean, incoming Senate Majority Leader