As President Obama is wraps up his trip to China today, he and President Hu should be looking at Chinese and American civil society for an example of how their countries can work together in tackling the climate crisis. On the 350 International Day of Climate Action, over 300 events took place in China along with nearly 2,000 across the United States, making October 24 the largest day of climate action either country had ever seen.

It’s clear that the US and Chinese public are ready for climate action. Now, it’s time for our leaders to step it up. In case they needed some extra inspiration, here’s a slideshow of October 24 photos from both countries:

President Obama’s trip was an incredible opportunity to foster a new partnership between the US and China based on building a clean energy economy that can tackle the climate crisis. The past few days have seen a few small steps in that direction including announcements about a joint clean energy research center, agreements on energy efficiency, and some good words (at least) about China and the US working together in Copenhagen to make progress on a "comprehensive agreement." 

But as many of us know, the time for small steps is over. The International Energy Agency — which provides the data which many countries and top businesses use to shape their energy policy and investments — estimates that every year we delay tackling climate change will cost the world $500 billion. If we wanted small steps, Chinese and US citizens would have organized 10 or 20 rallies on October 24, not hundreds and thousands.

That said, Obama’s trip has helped laid a solid foundation for future collaboration between the US and China. It looks like the leaders are beginning to finally catch up with their citizens! 


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