World News Brief, Thursday November 13

US and China sign climate agreement to cut carbon emissions; heads of state arrive in Burma for ASEAN summit; sterilisation procedures in India kill 13 women; history-making comet probe landing; and more 

Top of the Agenda

United States and China Sign Climate Agreement

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping struck an ambitious climate deal (NYT) to cut carbon emissions on Wednesday after the two leaders met on the sidelines of the APEC summit. Obama set a new, more aggressive target to reduce emissions, and Xi announced China's first commitment to stop emissions' growth by 2030. The agreement by the world's top polluters is likely to inject new momentum (FT) into global climate negotiations, which have stalled since 2009. Washington and Beijing also agreed to cut tariffs (Time) on high-tech goods.


"Barack Obama and Xi Jinping surprised even the closest climate watchers last night when they jointly announced new emissions-cutting goals for the United States and China. This is a serious diplomatic breakthrough after years of unsuccessful efforts to do something big and joint that goes beyond clean energy cooperation and gets to one of the most sensitive parts of climate policy," writes CFR's Michael A. Levi.

"This is also a milestone in the United States-China relationship, the outcome of a concerted effort that began last year in Beijing, when State Councilor Yang Jiechi and I started the United States-China Climate Change Working Group. It was an effort inspired not just by our shared concern about the impact of climate change, but by our belief that the world's largest economies, energy consumers and carbon emitters have a responsibility to lead," writes Secretary of State John Kerry in the New York Times.

"No progress was going to happen without the world's two biggest polluters, the US and China. The deal they have struck has the potential to end the stand-off that doomed efforts to sign a global deal in Copenhagen in 2009. That coalition of the unwilling is now becoming a coalition of the willing," writes Damian Carrington in the Guardian.



Asian Leaders Arrive in Burma

Heads of state travel to Burma (Al Jazeera) on Wednesday for the ASEAN and East Asia summits. Economic integration and disputed territory in the South China Sea are expected to dominate the meetings.

This CFR Backgrounder outlines the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.


Sterilisation procedures in India kill 13 women

History-making comet probe landing

This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on