President Obama's deal with China to dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions may go down as one of his lasting legacies once everything is said and done with his Administration. The deal, which was announced at a joint press conference, set far reaching goals of reducing carbon emissions that surprised most everyone over how much the two countries agreed to cut. Make no mistake about it--there are some steep hurdles that both countries must overcome to achieve their goals, but it can be done if we change the way we approach our energy consumption and become more dependent on renewable energy sources into the future.
The deal between the two largest producers of carbon emissions in the world also has the potential to start a domino effect of other nations committing to dramatically cutting back on their carbon emissions. The European Union, India, and other nations may soon follow suit and commit to reducing their carbon emissions. It is wishful thinking, but we may have finally reached a tipping point where countries are getting serious about their impact on the climate and what it means for future generations. We can no longer afford to pursue policies that only focus on the 'here and now' and not think about the future of the earth.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that the Republican Party is up in arms about this deal. The party that still denies global warming even exists won't have a change of heart over night and will try to use their newfound control of Congress to make implementing this deal difficult for the Obama Administration. The good thing is that Republicans don't have many tools at their disposal to sabotage this deal.
The pending climate regulations the Obama Administration is set to roll out in the weeks will show how serious the President is about backing up his words with tangible action. The EPA is set to issue a number of new rules that will dramatically change the way large energy companies that use fossil fuels do their business in the next few months. The rules are intended to reign in big coal and oil companies and are being billed as the most dramatic measures meant to reign in global climate change in a generation.
President Obama will be remembered for many reasons, but this may be his lasting legacy. Taking on big oil and coal and doing everything in his power to usher in a new era of clean energy is a tremendous feat and one that we will be thanking him for long after he leaves office.