A Signal of Groundbreaking Progress

US President Barack Obama (L) and China's President Xi Jinping shake hands following a bilateral meeting  at the Great Hall o
US President Barack Obama (L) and China's President Xi Jinping shake hands following a bilateral meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 12, 2014. Obama began a one-day state visit after the closing of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

This week's joint announcement by President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping to reduce their nations' carbon emissions is a major step forward in the global effort to solve the climate crisis. Much more will be required -- including a global agreement from all nations -- but these actions demonstrate a serious commitment by the top two global polluters.

President Xi Jinping's announcement that Chinese emissions will peak around 2030 is a signal of groundbreaking progress from the world's largest polluter. President Obama's commitment to reduce US emissions despite legislative obstruction is a continuation of his strong leadership on the issue.

By demonstrating their willingness to work together, the leaders of the United States and China are opening a new chapter in global climate negotiations. This bold leadership comes at a critical time for our planet when the costs of carbon pollution affect our lives more and more each day.