The recent joint announcement that China and the US would both commit to curbing their carbon emissions was a welcome signal that the tide is turning on international climate action.
It was also, however, a reminder of just how pitiful most countries' clean energy ambitions really are.
While countries like Finland have committed to a legally binding 80% cut by 2050, most larger nations—the US and China included—are really only talking about modest cuts at this stage. (The United States is aiming for emissions of 26%-28% below its 2005 level in 2025. China intends to achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030.)
That's why many clean energy advocates are looking beyond nation states, leveraging local politics at the city level to push much more ambitious, and potentially much more important, targets. The Guardian reports on a new grassroots movement aimed at securing commitments from cities to a goal of 100% clean energy.