China and US to cap emissions in climate change deal

Environmentalists welcome pledge by leaders of two largest economies which paves way for comprehensive global pact.

    China is the world's worst polluter and the US is the worst per capita [AP]
    China is the world's worst polluter and the US is the worst per capita [AP]

    US President Barack Obama has thanked his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for pledging to introduce a "cap and trade" emissions trading system to limit greenhouse gas production. 

    Obama's Clean Power Plan: Is it achievable?

    The agreement, which came during Xi's first official visit to the US as Chinese leader on Friday, paves the way for a more comprehensive deal at this year's UN summit on climate change in Paris.

    The leaders emerged from the talks brandishing a joint statement committing their countries to emissions cuts and a "common vision ... pointing toward a low-carbon transformation of the global economy this century".

    "The world's two largest economies, energy consumers and carbon emitters come together like this, then there is no reason for other countries, whether developed or developing, to not do so as well," Obama said.

    For its part, China confirmed in a joint statement that it "plans to launch in 2017 a national emission trading system covering power generation, steel, cement."

    The US meanwhile highlighted the finalisation of its Clean Power Plan, which it said would "reduce emissions in the US power sector by 32 percent by 2030."

    China will also set aside $3.1bn as a fund to help developing countries fight climate change.

    China is the world's worst polluter and the US is the worst per capita.

    'Paradigm shift'

    Environmental activist group Greenpeace welcomed China's commitment but said the US still faced obstacles living up to its pledges in Congress.

    "The climate finance commitments from the Chinese government represent a paradigm shift...this is a drastic increase in scale from China’s previous financial pledges," said Greenpeace's Li Shuo.

    "With this deal, it’s clear China is ready to lead on climate. The old political excuses for inaction in Washington have become irrelevant. On the wave of moral inspiration after the Pope’s visit, US politicians should raise the level of their ambition."

    "If the US and China can agree on the urgency of tackling climate change, the world should find it possible to forge a successful deal in Paris."

    SOURCE: Reuters And Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.