For the first time, significant global climate change action appears likely, after the United States and China officially joined the Paris climate agreement last weekend.
In a nice write-up published Wednesday, Triple Pundit explained why this is a big deal; the United States and China make up 38 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world, meaning they are necessary for any real action on climate change.
The United States and China signing on also means the other countries will likely commit to the plan that aims to limit the global average temperature increase to less than 2?°C above pre-industrial levels.
As Triple Pundit noted, Obama making the announcement on Labor Day weekend likely points to him attempting to keep the agreement out of the presidential election cycle, where Republican nominee Donald Trump has said he does not support the Paris Agreement.
The agreement figures to be the capstone to President Obama’s climate initiative that he has undertaken during his two terms in office.
On Thursday, The New York Times published a story about the effect that climate change will have on Obama’s legacy, and what change he was able to accomplish.
“My top science adviser, John Holdren, periodically will issue some chart or report or graph in the morning meetings, and they’re terrifying.” Obama told The New York Times.
Obama reflects on the failure of cap and trade legislation in his first term and how that led him to take unprecedented executive action in the story, the second of a six-part series documenting Obama’s administration.