President Hu Jintao announced at the UN Climate Summit on Tuesday that China will enact "notable" cuts in emissions by 2020. Given that he gave no specific numbers, reactions were mixed – what does "notable" mean? Environmentalists, pointing out that slower growth in emissions is still growth in emissions, want China to set a target date for when the country’s emissions will peak and decline. The US reaction was notably devoid of concrete proposals, also disappointing environmentalists. They should be used to it by now, but to expect any of the major players in the upcoming Copenhagen summit on climate change to do much more than optimize their image and their negotiating position simultaneously is naive. Even so, any upbeat, conciliatory language is welcome, and Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said that the meeting had effectively "rescued" the Copenhagen round. Elsewhere on the geopolitical stage, however, Beijing was not so cooperative. China has decided to ship petrol to Iran, providing the recalcitrant theocracy with one-third of its imports in September and sabotaging US attempts to use a fuel embargo for negotiating leverage. At the same time, Beijing is appealing the WTO’s decision that its policy on foreign media content distribution is discriminatory.