BEIJING, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- China and the U.S. reached an ambitious agreement Tuesday night on battling climate change, with both sides committing to levels and a timeline to reduce emissions.
The New York Times reported the agreement is the culmination of 9 months of secret talks between the two countries. President Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping announced the accord together in Beijing after two days of talks on a wide range of issues.
Obama will need congressional approval of the deal, the Times said, something that might be difficult to achieve in the newly Republican-controlled Congress.
Still the agreement is considered a landmark achievement by two countries that have often been at odds on the issue. The U.S. and China are the two largest carbon polluters on the planet. It is hoped a deal between the countries to cut their emissions would lead other countries to do the same.
The climate change deal is just the latest reached during Obama's visit to Beijing. The two leaders also reached a deal to cut technology tariffs.
Environmental activists in the U.S. were optimistic about the deal. Bob Perciasepe, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, told Politico: "Even if the targets aren't as ambitious as many might hope, the world's two largest carbon emitters are stepping up together with serious commitments."
By 2025, the U.S. would cut emissions from 2005 levels y 26-28 percent. China's goal would be to stop emissions from rising by 2030.
Obama and Xi are expected to make a formal announcement of the agreement on Wednesday morning in China.