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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

In the News: Emissions

Found on the Internets …

A series of tubes filled with enormous amounts of material some of which is emitted as noxious gasses.


China Agrees To Greenhouse Gas Cap; U.S. Will Accelerate Cuts

The United States and China pledged Wednesday to take ambitious action to limit greenhouse gases, aiming to inject fresh momentum into the global fight against climate change ahead of make-or-break climate talks next year.

President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. would move much faster in cutting its levels of pollution. Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to cap China’s emissions in the future – a striking, unprecedented move by a nation that has been reluctant to box itself in on global warming. […]

Developing nations like India and China have long balked at being on the hook for climate change as much as wealthy nations like the U.S. that have been polluting for much longer. But China analysts said Beijing’s willingness to cap its future emissions and to put Xi front and center signaled a significant turnaround.

For Obama, the fight against climate change has become a central facet of the legacy he hopes to leave. Facing opposition in Congress, Obama has sought to bypass lawmakers through emissions regulations on power plants and vehicles.

This is not just about “cementing a legacy”, this is caring about the future of the human species.


Emissions of a different sort (effluvia?) … Obama’s Climate Deal With China Enrages GOP In Congress

But Obama’s opponents in Congress balked, dismissing the new U.S. target as “job-destroying red tape” that would squeeze the middle class.

“This unrealistic plan that the president would dump on his successor would ensure higher utility rates and far fewer jobs,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who is set to become the majority leader early next year.

Yes, those pesky regulations … killin’ jobs again!! Who needs clean air or safe work environments??!? Why, wanting people to have better lives and a brighter future is downright un-American!!


More …


Reaction from scientists:

What Climate Scientists Have To Say About Obama’s Deal With China

For the climate scientists ThinkProgress asked on Wednesday, the answer was a resounding yes, with a side of caution. Scientists confirmed that the announcement, which has China agreeing to cap its emissions by 2030 and the U.S. committing to a 26 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2025, represented a huge first step toward building the kind of political cooperation needed to effectively combat a global problem. […]

“Efforts to reduce U.S. emissions have been blocked, in part, by people who argue that the U.S .should wait for China to act,” [climatologist and Director of the American Meteorological Society’s Policy Program Paul] Higgins said. “[The deal] has potential to get us all beyond what has been a major – maybe the major – political challenge for emissions reductions in the U.S.”


From the White House:

The U.S. and China Just Announced Important New Actions to Reduce Carbon Pollution

President Obama believes we have a moral obligation to take action on climate change, and that we cannot leave our children a planet beyond their capacity to repair. Over the last year, a spate of scientific studies have laid out the scope and scale of the challenge we face in the starkest of terms. “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” says the U.S. National Climate Assessment. “Without additional mitigation efforts…warming by the end of the 21st century will lead to high to very high risk of severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts globally,” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes. […]

“There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other,” President Obama said in September. “And that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.”

Today in Beijing, the leaders of the world’s two largest economies — and the world’s two biggest emitters — stood together and committed to tackling that threat head-on. If other leaders follow suit, if more businesses step up, if we keep our level of ambition high, we can build the safer, cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous world future generations deserve.

Press Release: U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change, Beijing, China, 12 November 2014

Fact Sheet: FACT SHEET: U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change and Clean Energy Cooperation


Editor’s Note: Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.


  1. This bears repeating:

    President Obama: “we have a moral obligation to take action on climate change, we cannot leave our children a planet beyond their capacity to repair.”

  2. Coal Mines Keep Operating Despite Injuries, Violations And Millions In Fines

    Jack Blankenship was pinned facedown in the dirt, his neck, shoulder and back throbbing with pain.

    He was alone on an errand, in a dark tunnel a mile underground at the Aracoma Alma coal mine in Logan County, W.Va., when a 300-pound slab of rock peeled away from the roof and slammed him to the ground. As his legs grew numb, he managed to free an arm and reach his radio. For two hours, he pressed the panic button that was supposed to bring help quickly.

    “I couldn’t hardly breathe,” Blankenship remembered four years later. “I’d black out and come to. I was waiting to die. I’d already had my little talk with God.”

    NPR investigated and found that the owners and operators of the most dangerous mines ignore the fines and continue operating, risking the lives of their workers:

       2,700 mining company owners failed to pay nearly $70 million in delinquent penalties.

       The top nine delinquents owe more than $1 million each.

       Mines that don’t pay their penalties are more dangerous than mines that do, with injury rates 50 percent higher.

       Delinquent mines reported close to 4,000 injuries in the years they failed to pay, including accidents that killed 25 workers and left 58 others with permanent disabilities.


    The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) says that they are more interested in safety than in collecting the fines. But as Mary Middleton, 31, whose husband Roy was killed at the Kentucky Darby mine, whose owner owes millions in fines, points out:

    “You get a speeding ticket … and you don’t pay and they’ll want to put you in jail,” Middleton added. “But this man – it’s people’s lives and injuries, and then they just keep letting him keep doing it and doing it.”

    “Job killing regulations, destroying the middle class”. Here, let me fix that: “Killing people, destroying lives”.  

  3. Obama Outmaneuvers Republicans on Climate Change

    Republicans’ best argument against regulating carbon emissions from U.S. coal plants has always been this: If China won’t act, what use is it? Why risk harming the U.S. economy if the resulting drop in emissions isn’t enough to slow the worst effects of climate change?

    The U.S.-China climate agreement announced last night turns that argument on its head. Under the deal, China will aim to begin reducing its carbon emissions by 2030, and the U.S. will reduce its emissions by as much as 28 percent by 2025, compared with 2005 levels — “reductions achievable under existing law.” […]

    You could dismiss the importance of China’s 2030 pledge on any number of grounds — that it’s unlikely to come true, or that it was probably going to happen anyway, or that it’s not fast enough even if it does happen. But it’s leagues better than nothing and could produce momentum elsewhere, so anything that undermines that deal would be a step backward when we can’t afford it.

  4. princesspat

    Is the U.S.-China Climate Pact as Big a Deal as It Seems?

    Many people thought, hoped, or dreamt that Xi Jinping would be some kind of reformer. Two years into his watch, his has been a time of cracking down rather than loosening up. Political enemies and advocates of civil society are in jail or in trouble. Reporters from the rest of the world have problems even getting into China, and reporters from China itself face even worse repression than before. The gratuitous recent showdown with Hong Kong exemplifies the new “No More Mr. Nice Guy” approach.

    A nationalistic, spoiling-for-a-fight tone has spilled over into China’s “diplomatic” dealings too. So to have this leader of China making an important deal with an American president at this stage of his political fortune is the first news that even seems positive in a long while.

    We’ll wait to see the details. But at face value, this is better news-about China, about China and America, and about the globe-than we’ve gotten for a while.

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