The U.S. and China have formally signed the Paris climate agreement.

On Saturday, Sept. 3, the White House announced that for the first time, the U.S. and China, the world’s two biggest emitters, have formally joined the historic Paris climate agreement aimed at reducing carbon pollution. By jointly signing the Paris Agreement, the world’s two largest economies are continuing their leadership on taking early climate action together.

USGBC applauds President Obama and President Xi Jinping for their leadership on climate with the signing of the Paris Agreement. The commitment of the countries goes well beyond the moment, and we take this opportunity to appreciate the leadership in collaboration between the U.S. and China over the past several years that set the stage for successful negotiations in Paris. 

“Partnership is the new leadership,” said Mahesh Ramanujan, COO of USGBC. “The U.S. and China have just shown that the new world order is one that works together on challenges—and no issue is more pressing than climate change. Congratulations to President Obama and President Xi Jinping. We are excited to build on these efforts with our increasing suite of solutions to help accelerate a low-carbon built environment around the world.”

The U.S.–China engagement has fueled bold action and innovative policies by cities in both countries, and enabled the private sector to advance development and scale-up of technologies supporting climate goals. We welcome today’s news as we expand our own commitment with a growing suite of tools and resources to enable the accelerated transformation to a low carbon economy.

USGBC announced our initial climate commitment in the run-up to COP 21 in Paris. Since then, USGBC has been working to implement its commitment, which includes

  • Scaling up to support certification of more than 5 billion square feet (478 million square meters) of green building with LEED® and EDGE;
  • Advancing building performance transparency metrics for the financial community, including tools for investors, lenders and underwriters through USGBC’s involvement with GRESB and other initiatives to recognize and reward green attributes in building portfolios;
  • Expanding our platform worldwide for green building education, and with educational partners, doubling the non-English offerings; and
  • Providing additional tools to drive market transformation of the built environment, from buildings to grids.

In addition, we continue to work with the Carbon Leadership Forum and are collaborating with Ceres to spearhead the Building and Real Estate Climate Declaration campaign, with more than 50 building sector firms committed to date.