Here is an interview I did recently for the BBC World Service discussing why the emissions agreement between the US and China is so important.
“This is really important because the real problem with climate change is not so much technology or economics, it’s politics. It’s actually getting politicians to do what we know we can do. And I think that this is a pretty big signal, when you have both China and the US agreeing really to do a lot more than people have expected them to do. Will it be enough? I don’t think where they have got to today is going to be enough to really solve the problem, but it does take us a big step down the right road.”
“If you think of China as one of the biggest investors in one of the biggest periods of growth, what it is actually saying is after 2030 all the investment in energy in China will be low-carbon or carbon-neutral, and that is a pretty big statement for a country that is still developing. So what China has actually signalled is that there is no conflict between dealing with climate change and having rapid growth and development for poorer people.”
“There has always been this idea that somehow China is doing nothing, and you regularly hear that from the climate sceptics in this country, but the fact is that China’s has been doing a lot for a very long time. What they haven’t ever done before is said when emissions will peak, and that of course means that they will now shift basically to renewables, energy efficiency and nuclear as a way of delivering all the energy they need for their people’s prosperity but without destroying the climate.”
You can listen to the whole discussion here