[JURIST] The US and China on Wednesday announced a negotiated agreement [text] to reduce greenhouse gas output. Leaders of both countries negotiated secretly to arrive at the following pledge: The US seeks to reduce emissions by a quarter or more by 2025, while China will implement greater use of zero-emission energy sources by 2030. This agreement marks the first time that China, the world’s chief emitter of greenhouse gases, has pledged to cap its emissions. The two nations’ production currently accounts for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. While some claim that this agreement is an important step in addressing climate concerns, critics have called the plan unrealistic.
According to many experts, such as those that comprise the US Global Change Research Program [official website], climate change as a result of global greenhouse gas emissions is one of the most pressing and controversial environmental issues [JURIST report] facing the international community today. Despite current efforts to address climate change, many obstacles exist in the search for more permanent solutions. Disagreement between world leaders on the issue, which ranges from disputes over its cause to outright denial of its existence, continues to hinder negotiations, as does concern for striking an adequate balance of environmental and industrial priorities. Concrete legal action also remains difficult due to a lack of consensus among domestic legislative bodies needed to ratify proposed treaties. In the US, for example, both the legislature and the general populace has traditionally been deeply divided [Pew Research report] along party lines regarding climate change.