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Congressional Champions on Historic U.S./China Climate Deal

13 Nov 2014  |   Olivia Noble

Tags: Climate Change

This week, the U.S. and China announced a game changing agreement that will significantly impact global progress on climate change. This is a big deal.  For the first time ever, China has agreed to limit its global warming pollution. China committed to peak its emissions in 2030 and has pledged to get roughly 20% of its energy from clean energy, like wind and solar by that date. President Obama committed the U.S. to reducing its pollution 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. While these negotiations happened away from Capitol Hill, many Senators and Representatives were quick to support this historic breakthrough and tout the momentum this builds for a strong international climate agreement at the end of 2015.  See below for a comprehensive list of statements, tweets, and more from your climate champions in Congress. 


Sen. Cory Booker: 

“Visionary ancmnt from @BarackObama and China to reduce emissions, protect against cl change, & grow cln energy indust” 

Sen. Barbara Boxer: 

"Now there is no longer an excuse for Congress to block action."

Sen. Maria Cantwell:

 “This is a significant step forward by the two largest energy consumers in the world, to work toward a clean energy future.”

“It is helpful that President Obama and Secretary (of State John) Kerry were ready to take advantage of China’s growing recognition that it needs to do more to reduce greenhouse gases. Hopefully this agreement will stimulate more clean energy investment.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein: 

“Combatting climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, and the agreement reached in Beijing is a significant and welcome accomplishment. By bringing together the world’s two biggest contributors to global warming and committing to ambitious solutions, this agreement proves that we can forge an international consensus to solve this problem.”

“President Obama’s trip had other notable successes including agreements to extend short-term business, student and travel visas; improve transparency and communication between U.S. and Chinese militaries; and cut tariffs on technology products. These developments will help expand business and cultural ties between the countries and help avoid a military confrontation in the South and East China Seas.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand:

“I commend Pres. Obama for historic agreement w/China to #actonclimate by jointly reducing greenhouse gas emissions:”  

“Global community must act to reduce effects of climate change to protect our communities & families. V plsd US & China are leading the way.”

Sen. Martin Heinrich:

"This historic agreement is welcome news and a positive step toward creating a cleaner and safer environment. Climate change is not theoretical. In fact, it's considered a significant threat to national security by the Pentagon with the potential to foster terrorism abroad. 

"In New Mexico, we're already seeing the effects of climate change manifest in more extreme drought conditions, larger wildfires, shrinking forests, and increased flooding. The longer we wait to act, the more difficult and expensive the solutions will be and the more unpredictable our weather will become.”

Sen. Tim Kaine:

“The United States has taken bold steps to reduce carbon pollution through technology innovation and smart incentives to get cleaner and more efficient with energy, yet we know other countries must follow suit.  Today we heard that China – the world’s most populous country and most heavy carbon polluter – has agreed to take such steps, for the first time.  As part of this broad agreement, the U.S. and China will expand cooperation on clean energy R&D by partnering on an innovative new carbon capture and storage (CCS) project to capture and reuse the CO2 generated by burning coal.  Today’s news underscores that when the U.S. takes a leadership role, good things happen.”

Sen. Ed Markey:

“These are big commitments from the biggest emitters, and could end up being the agreement that protects people and the planet from the worst impacts of global warming. 

“When the top two countries that represent more than a third of all warming emissions on the planet make this kind of pact, it provides leadership that ripples across the world. Other countries will now stand up and take notice and approach the coming international climate negotiations with a newfound optimism that progress can be achieved.”

Sen. Bob Menendez:

"This bold announcement from the world's two largest economies and greenhouse gas emitters can help lead to a robust global climate agreement in Paris next year. The Obama Administration's work to secure this agreement signals that China can no longer be used as an excuse to not act on global warming. China and the US are acting in tandem to reduce emissions, drive down clean energy costs even further, and protect us from even more severe climate impacts. I applaud this announcement and will work to make sure both countries meet their commitments."

Sen. Jeff Merkely: 

“This agreement is a good start to taking on the carbon pollution that threatens our way of life and our natural resource economy in rural America, and particularly in our West…we can’t bury our heads in the tar sands any longer.”

“Catastrophic climate change is already harming our economy, particularly industries such as our farming, fishing and forestry in Oregon.  It’s time for action, and this is an important step forward.”

Sen. Chris Murphy: 

“Last night's agreement with #China to slash #carbon emissions is an unprecedented step forward”

Sen. Patty Murray: 

“Great to see the United States & China come together to #ActOnClimate. WA stands only to gain as we continue to fight #climatechange. –PM”

“The undeniable reality of man caused climate change is that it’s one of the greatest challenges facing our state, nation and world…so the only rational response to this agreement should be excitement and commitment to building on this strong step in the right direction.”

Sen. Harry Reid:

“The historic announcement by President Obama and President Xi Jingping of China is exactly what is needed to ensure that America’s efforts to clean up our energy supply are replicated around the world.  As I’ve said in the past, we cannot wait to address climate change and strengthen our nation’s resilience to extreme weather and climate impacts. I hope this agreement will spur other countries to join with us in confronting climate change.”

Sen. Brian Schatz: 

“The groundbreaking climate change and clean energy cooperation agreement announced by President Obama and President Xi demonstrates the necessary leadership from the United States and China to continue addressing the global threat of climate change.  The agreement recognizes that as the two leading producers of greenhouse gas emissions, the United States and China must take short and long term measures to reduce the amount of carbon pollution and to encourage the development of clean energy.  By jointly agreeing to specific goals which will reduce carbon emissions by 2030 at the latest, the United States and China are poised to significantly bolster renewable energy research and technology and foster a new industrial revolution fueled by clean energy.”

Sen. Tom Udall: 

"New Mexicans are seeing firsthand the devastating impacts of global warming, including drought, water scarcity, and more serious wildfires. That's one of the reasons I've been pushing for a "do it all, do it right" plan to develop a strong clean energy sector that will cut pollution and create well-paying jobs in New Mexico and across the country. But the United States can't do this alone -- all nations must work together as partners to combat this common problem. So this historic agreement between the United States and China is good for New Mexico, the country, and the global community. We need strong leadership and a robust effort around the world to reverse these climate trends, and I hope this deal will be a game changer that spurs global cooperation."

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse:

“The US and China’s joint announcement of carbon pollution reduction plans sends an important message: the world’s top two emitters are committed to working together to avert the worst effects of climate change.  President Obama’s commitment to reduce US carbon pollution by up to 28 percent by 2025 is an ambitious plan, as is China's commitment to a timetable for carbon pollution reductions, clean energy generation, and significant new investments in renewable energy.  I thank President Obama for continuing to mobilize the global community to address the climate threat while cutting carbon pollution and stimulating the clean energy economy here at home.”


Rep. Susan Bonamici: 

“I applaud the deal reached by @BarackObama and President Xi. Great step in effort to #ActonClimate:”

Rep. Lois Capps: 

“I applaud Presidents Obama & Xi 4 reaching a groundbreaking agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions. A solid step forward to #ActOnClimate

Rep. Keith Ellison:

“Today's agreement will hopefully bring a larger deal that will set emission targets to keep temperature rise below 2 degrees #ActOnClimate

Rep. John Garamendi:

“We need decisive action from our lawmakers to seriously address the climate crisis. Presently, far too many lawmakers willfully ignore the overwhelming scientific consensus. They are making the planet more dangerous for all of humanity…Today’s announcement of a climate change accord between the United States and China, the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters, is an important but incomplete step forward.”

Rep. Rush Holt:

“Opponents of climate action have argued that China’s growing emissions would undo anything the U.S. might do…I have not accepted that argument, because even as China has grown they have recognized in recent years the need to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. Now we have official agreement that the U.S. and China–the world’s largest carbon polluters–will work together to cap and reduce emissions in the coming decades. As we look towards global climate negotiations in Paris in 2015 it is clear that the time to transition to a clean energy economy is now. Climate change is already costing us in lives and dollars. Failing to respond is simply not an option.”

Rep. Derek Kilmer: 

“Good news of new agreement between U.S. and China to cut carbon emissions by 2030 … #ActOnClimate

Rep. Alan Lowenthal:

“Big news: U.S. and China reach momentous agreement to reduce carbon emissions. We must continue to #ActOnClimate.”

Rep. Mike Quigley:

“U.S., #China commit to confronting #climatechange w/ seriousness it requires  via @nytimes #globalwarming #environment

Rep. Nancy Pelosi: 

“The carbon pollution reduction goals announced by President Obama and President Xi represent a commitment to confronting climate change with the seriousness it requires.  If China and the United States deliver on the promises announced today, and other nations join with similarly strong commitments, we can avoid the worst effects of permanent climate change.

“There is no excuse left for inaction.  No nation can escape the impact of climate change – nor can any nation shirk its responsibility to confront this shared challenge.  We must come together and take bold and ambitious steps to avert the climate crisis before us.

“I commend President Obama for his tireless leadership in fighting climate change, and Secretary Kerry for all his work in securing this historic promise.  With worldwide commitments in reach, the importance of the President’s Clean Power Plan is clearer than ever.  We must continue to take bold steps forward: investing in clean energy, creating good paying jobs, and ensuring that all our children can look toward the future with confidence.”

Rep. Scott Peters: 

“New US-China agreement on emissions to #ActOnClimate is a big step in right direction. Time for Congress to act.” 

“Yesterday’s announcement is a significant step in the right direction toward stopping the underlying causes of global climate change. The United States and China are the two largest emitters of greenhouse gasses and have the opportunity to lead the rest of the world in responsibly confronting this international challenge.

“President Obama’s leadership in finding productive solutions to fight climate change by reducing power plant emissions, forging public-private partnerships to reduce the use of HFCs, and through ambitious vehicle mileage standards cannot be overstated.

Rep. Mark Pocan: 

“I think the pledge by the US/China is a historic breakthrough in fight to reverse harmful effects of #climatechange.” 

Rep. David Price: 

“President Obama’s historic climate agreement with China is a major step forward for reducing carbon pollution #APEC

Rep. Jan Schakowsky: 

“As the two largest economies - and polluters - on earth, the United States and China have a responsibility to lead the fight against climate change.  Yesterday's announcement proves that we are willing to take that challenge head-on in advance of the United Nations Climate Conference meeting next year, which has set a goal of reaching a broad international emissions reduction agreement.  By setting different targets for the two countries, yesterday's announcements also showed a blueprint for negotiating among nations with varying capacities to achieve emissions reductions.”

Rep. Niki Tsongas:

“Commitment to future generations: Pres Obama & Xi Jinping announced longterm joint plan to cut greenhouse gas” 

Rep. Chris Van Hollen: 

“The joint U.S.-China announcement is a significant step forward in the effort to reduce global carbon pollution and begin to address the real threats of severe climate change. As the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gasses, it is critical that we put forward ambitious, science-based commitments to reduce emissions and protect our citizens from the devastating impacts of climate change. I fully support these pledges and believe they will help set the stage for a strong international agreement in Paris next year. I also believe Congress can and should both reinforce and expand on this progress by passing comprehensive climate legislation like the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act of 2014, a market-based plan I introduced earlier this year to auction carbon credits and return the proceeds to the American people.”

Rep. Henry A. Waxman: 

“History may look back and say this was the turning point on climate.”

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