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U.S.-China deal on climate aims to cut emissions by 2025

President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping said Wednesday the two nations had come to an agreement on cutting carbon emissions.

The United States and China are the top two emitters of greenhouse gases.

President Obama said Wednesday the United States has set a new goal of reducing total greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2025.

“This is an ambitious goal, but it is an achievable goal,” he said.

The president had previously promised to lower emissions 17 percent by 2020.

Xi agreed for the first time to a date of 2030 for peak carbon dioxide emissions and to increase the portion of non-fossil fuel energy consumption by about 20 percent by 2030.

Their announcement followed statements at the U.N. Climate Summit in New York in September showing the two countries were on the same page in terms of reducing greenhouse gases.

The pledges make way for further countries to sign on to a global climate agreement at a conference in Paris next year.

In a sign of potential political pushback, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement: “Our economy can’t take the president’s ideological war on coal that will increase the squeeze on middle-class families and struggling miners.”

Environmental groups called it a good first step. “These landmark commitments to curtail carbon pollution are a necessary, critical step forward in the global fight against climate change,” said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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