President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping released a joint statement reaffirming their two nations' commitment to fight climate change. They also pledged further cooperation on other global environmental and public health concerns.
During Public Health Week this past April, the president declared that “America's public health is deeply tied to the health of our environment.” He also warned then that, “There are a whole host of public health impacts that are going to hit home” if action is not taken on climate change.
The new joint statement called for transparent climate-change mitigation efforts that utilize technology. Both nations also pledged to provide some $3 billion to assist developing countries in similar efforts. And both seek to produce a legally enforceable implementation agreement at the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 Paris Climate Change Conference, which will include transparent “reporting and review of action.”
“The historic climate change announcements that we made last year in Beijing have encouraged other countries to step up as well—increasing the prospects of a stronger global agreement this year,” Obama said at a news conference. “When the world's two largest economies, energy consumers and carbon emitters come together like this, then there is no reason for other countries—whether developed or developing—to not do so as well.”
Obama also talked about how joint initiatives in combating the Ebola outbreak had taught the two countries lessons on strengthening global health security, disaster response, and agricultural development and food security.
Obama and Xi's comments come a day after Pope Francis urged Congress to take action against "environmental deterioration caused by human activity" and expressed confidence that America's research institutions could produce technology that would result in “healthier” progress.
Next week, the health concerns stemming from climate change will be addressed by the annual meeting of the American Academy of Family Physicians Congress of Delegates in Denver.
A resolution calls on the almost 121,000-member medical society to support public policies to limit and monitor the use of fossil fuels and “the production of environmental pollutants.”