China and the U.S Sending Encouraging Signs at UN Climate Summit 2014 – by Rani Jarkas

President Barack Obama said on September 23 at the Climate Summit which was hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the United States and China have a “special responsibility to lead” the global fight against climate change. As the two largest economies and biggest polluters, the nations should be doing more to curb greenhouse gas emissions and to help other countries adapt to climate change effects, the president said in an address to the United Nations General Assembly. Together, the U.S. and China account for roughly 45 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions. - United States President Barack Obama, speaks at the UN Climate Summit 2014. UN Photo/Kim Haughton

[ – United States President Barack Obama, speaks at the UN Climate Summit 2014. UN Photo/Kim Haughton]

Obama said the U.S. would meet its voluntary target to cut greenhouse gases to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. The White House also announced a series of initiatives to help vulnerable communities build resilience against climate effects. The announcement builds on an earlier plan to dole out $1 billion in federal aid to help U.S. states and cities to prepare ahead of time for climate impacts.

China, for its part, made its boldest policy statement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Speaking after Obama at the summit, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, as the special envoy of President Xi Jinping, said “China is ready to work with the international community to actively tackle the grave challenge of climate change.”  He reiterated the country’s goal to cut carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 from the 2005 level. “We are committed to taking proactive steps to promote energy conservation, emissions reduction, low-carbon development and ecological progress.” - Take Climate Action

[ – Take Climate Action]

Policy observers say the statements by Obama and Zhang are an encouraging sign. They “send a clear signal that both countries will work seriously to put in place climate solutions domestically and reach an ambitious international agreement in Paris next year,” Jennifer Morgan, who directs the climate and energy programs at the World Resources Institute, said in a statement.

Rani Jarkas, the Chairman of Cedrus Investments.

Rani Jarkas is a highly experienced financial services executive, with over 20 years of international banking experience. Currently, Mr. Jarkas is the Chairman of Cedrus Investments, a global boutique investment firm. Cedrus’ domain expertise is in life sciences, natural resources, energy, cleantech and nanotechnology. – Rani Jarkas