President Obama listens to statements during a round table meeting at the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. Obama has just struck a new climate agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping. (AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin, Pool)

The United States and China announced Friday they would seek to eliminate some of the world’s most potent greenhouse gases through the 1987 Montreal Protocol, the landmark treaty that successfully phased out ozone-depleting substances decades ago.

The move, announced at the Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg, is significant because it provides a clear path for curbing a major contributor to global warming in the near term as world leaders grapple with the more challenging task of cutting carbon dioxide in the coming decades.