Back in November, President Obama took a Beijing stage, shoulder-to-shoulder with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and pretty well shook up the geopolitics of climate change.
The presidents of the two largest polluters of greenhouse gases announced a game-changing climate deal that few saw coming.
Even the most plugged-in climate policy experts—and many Capitol Hill politicians—were stunned.
The bilateral climate agreement—which basically says that the U.S. will cut greenhouse gas emissions by a little over one-quarter (from a baseline in 2005) by 2025, and that China will peak its emissions by 2030—was met with remarkably consistent praise.
Advocates for a strong international climate treaty liked that the bit of diplomacy took away the “waiting for China to act” argument from American naysayers.
And coming as it did in the run-up to the United Nations climate talks in Lima, Peru, the timing of the announcement invigorated the typically sputtering negotiations.
Some of the toughest criticism came from the youngest commentators. A partnership of youth from both the U.S. and China delivered their critique in the form of a joint letter to Presidents Jinping and Obama.