US President Barack Obama and Brazil President Dilma Rousseff met Tuesday and announced an agreement [text] to address climate change. Both countries pledged to reduce carbon emissions by increasing the use of wind and solar power sources to 20 percent of each nation’s electricity production by 2030. Brazil also pledged to help reduce the deforestation problem by restoring nearly 30 million acres of Amazon rain forest. China also announced its climate change goals [press release] on Tuesday, including reducing its adjusted carbon monoxide output by 60 percent. The announcements come in lead up to the United Nations-sponsored Conference of Parties in Paris [official website] later this year.
Climate change [JURIST backgrounder] is a pressing global issue which many of the world’s governments have addressed in recent years. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] called on India [JURIST report] in January to be a world leader in sustainable development, praising the efforts the country has made thus far on this matter. In December UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity, Virginia Dandan, urged [JURIST report] states attending the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) in Lima, Peru, to commit to a legally binding agreement on greenhouse gas emissions. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change [text, PDF; JURIST backgrounder] is the first major treaty in response to global climate change. The non-binding treaty does not set greenhouse gas emissions standards on individual countries but requires all parties to participate in Conference of the Parties meetings. In November, the US and China announced a negotiated agreement [JURIST report] to reduce greenhouse gas output.