Great News: Historic agreement between US and China will displace fossil fuels with renewables

Climate negotiations between John Kerry and Xie Zhenhua failed during their meeting last July in Beijing. Credit: Valerie Volcovici, Reuters

By Alliance President Terry Gips

Every once in a while an event happens that can give real hope and change the world. Today is that day. The US and China have agreed to displace fossil fuels by ramping up renewables, according to The New York Times. It’s not perfect and omits many things but it represents much more than just the two biggest.climate polluters finally agreeing to limit themselves and go in a new, joint direction.

It sends a clarion call to other countries that it’s finally time to come together to avert the unfolding existential threat of climate extinction. It also is an historic positive step towards collaboration rather than war between the world’s two greatest superpowers. It opens the possibility that just maybe China and the US can actually begin talking again (as they are literally going to do today for the first time in a long while) and avoiding war between themselves while helping to lead the world out of the wars they’re either fueling or tacitly allowing.

Equally important, it gives hope to all of us who’ve dedicated our lives to addressing the climate crisis and co-creating a world of sustainability, health, equity and kindness. We have been heard. Our work is paying off. We can change the world.

And it reminds us that there are forces that are dead set against this that will do anything they can to stop it. They will fund every possible candidate to derail it, flood Congress with lobbyists and fill the airways and social media with attempts to ridicule, obfuscate and lie about it.

The great news? We get to vote. We have the power to win. This election will determine the future of our fundamental rights, democracy and world.

Meanwhile, China’s policy isn’t hanging in the balance because it sadly has a veto proof dictator. This is perhaps one of the only times you’ll hear me say a positive thing about brutal totalitarianism.

I want to express my gratitude for the amazing, unrelenting, against-all-odds work of US Special Climate Envoy John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart to make this happen. Kerry has shown extraordinary, steadfast resilience under fire for such a long time. I am forever grateful that an older man of wealth would choose to dedicate his life to this cause and the future of the planet.

And thank you to The NY Times and author Lisa Friedman for this excellent article that both lays out the positives of the breakthrough and the negatives, including all the omissions of emissions it fails to address. But today, let’s celebrate hope and possibility. We have a lot to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

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