China will cut output of carbon dioxide gas per unit of gross domestic product by 40% to 45% by 2020 from 2005 levels. The US, the second-largest air polluter, said it will bring to the talks an offer to directly reduce emissions by about 17% for the same period.
Yvo de Boer, the top United Nations climate official, said the moves ”can unlock two of the last doors to a comprehensive agreement” to curb global-warming gases. The European Commission welcomed the goals while urging both nations to go further.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that China’s targets do not mean emissions will fall, only that their growth may slow. China’s economy has more than quadrupled since 2000 to $4.3 trillion and if growth continues at that pace the country’s carbon pollution will also continue to grow.