US and China unveil climate goals

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Published: Wednesday 12th November 2014 by The News Editor

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The US and China have unveiled ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gases, aiming to inject fresh momentum into the global fight against climate change ahead of a make-or-break treaty to be finalised next year.

President Barack Obama announced that the US would move much faster in cutting pollution, with a goal to reduce by 26% to 28% by 2025, compared with 2005 levels. Earlier in his presidency, he had set a goal to cut emissions by 17% by 2020.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, whose country’s emissions are still growing as it builds new coal plants, did not commit to cut emissions by a specific amount. Rather, he set a target for China’s emission to peak by 2030, or earlier if possible. He also pledged to increase the share of energy that China will derive from sources other than fossil fuels.

The unexpected breakthrough by the world’s two largest polluters reflected both nations’ desire to display a united front on climate change, blunting arguments from developing countries which have baulked at demands that they get serious about cutting emissions.

Yet it was unclear how feasible it would be for either country to meet their goals, and Mr Obama’s pledge is sure to confront tough opposition from ascendant Republicans in Congress.

“This is, in my view, the most important bilateral climate announcement ever,” said David Sandalow, formerly a top environmental official at the White House and the Energy Department.

“It sends the signal the two largest emitters in the world are working together to address this problem.”

Published: Wednesday 12th November 2014 by The News Editor

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