15 September 2019
Air pollution shrouds commercial and residential buildings in Shanghai. Photo: Bloomberg
Air pollution shrouds commercial and residential buildings in Shanghai. Photo: Bloomberg

China, US outline climate deal ahead of Paris talks

China and the United States have outlined their “common vision” to secure an ambitious global climate deal later this year, but experts say a centerpiece pledge by Beijing to establish a nationwide carbon market is no game-changer,

In a joint statement made during President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States, China confirmed it would launch national cap-and-trade scheme in 2017, forcing big emitters to buy credits to meet CO2 reduction targets, Reuters reported.

The world’s top two greenhouse gas emitting nations also agreed to stand together during the crucial round of talks on a new global deal beginning in Paris in late November, agreeing that emissions targets should “ramp up over time in the direction of greater ambition”.

There were no specific new measures from either side, however, to build on pledges made last November, when China said it would bring its spiraling emissions to a peak by “around 2030″ while the US promised to cut its own CO2 by 26-28 percent by 2025 compared to the 2005 level.

“I wouldn’t underestimate the importance of this kind of working together,” said Bret Harper, associate director of research at Australian clean energy consultant RepuTex.

“But in terms of pure substance, there weren’t really any new announcements beyond some kind of fuzzy things regarding what China wants to do in the power sector and potential linking of carbon markets in the distant future.”

The Nov. 30-Dec. 11 Conference of the Parties (COP) in Paris will be the latest attempt by world leaders to forge a deal intended to avert more heatwaves, floods and rising seas following the failure of talks in Copenhagen in 2009.

China and the US have been the main forces preventing a global climate deal in the past decade or two.

With the world’s two biggest economies now in agreement, a global deal in Paris has become much more likely, albeit with less ambitious targets than many, including the European Union, want, the report said.

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