There is no sight more encouraging than leaders from different countries standing united for the greater good of the world - and that is exactly what we saw last week when China and the US announced their formal joining of the Paris agreement.
The legally binding global climate deal was formed with the sole focus of setting out a global action plan that would put the world on track to tackle climate change and keep a global temperature rise well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. With the agreement recruiting the support and alliance of two such highly populated and energy-consuming countries it's an incredibly reassuring step in the right direction.
Despite this being the latest demonstration of joint leadership by the two countries on global climate and environmental issues, the targets set are no mean feat.
China currently sits as the world’s largest carbon emitter, largest coal consumer and largest net importer of oil – its leaders have an incredible challenge on their hands. In fact, two years ago, President Xi Jinping called for “a revolution in the production and consumption of energy” and he was unquestionably right.
In 2011, the RMI published a paper called Reinventing Fire for the U.S. It was a roadmap to kicking the country’s dependence on fossil fuels by 2050. Two years later the RMI partnered with the Energy Research Institute of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (ERI), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), and Energy Foundation China (EF China) to initiate a similar piece of research for China.
The findings were detailed and scientific, supporting China’s goal of revolutionising its approach to sustainability and clean energy. If successful, the report demonstrates how by 2050, China can reduce its carbon emissions by 42 per cent below its 2010 levels and grow its economy 600 per cent, while saving a net $3.1 trillion over the investments required.
By growing its economy several times over, reducing its emissions and transitioning its population from rural to urban living, China will be soaring towards successfully honouring its commitment to the Paris agreement.
You can download the Reinventing Fire: China Executive Summary to read a more in-depth and practical break down of how China can move forward with its mission to tackle climate change head on.
It’s time for change and such readiness for action from the U.S and China couldn’t be more timely. Now however, as President Xi declared previously, we must all move from talk to action. Watch this space.