In this May 29, 2015 photo, a man walks past a coal-powered steel plant in Tianjin, China..
Brazil, China and the United States each announced on Tuesday new goals to reduce carbon emissions over the next 15 years, including through restoration of thousands of square miles of rainforest in South America.
The pledge is exactly the same as one unveiled by President Xi Jinping in a meeting with United States President Barack Obama last November.
Just last week, I convened the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue with Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, during which cooperation on climate change was a key area of discussion. Carbon intensity, the document says, is already 33.8 percent below that level.
In a new element beyond the U.S.-China deal, Beijing said it would cut its Carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 60-65 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. The “business atmosphere (in China) is deteriorating”, Juncker noted. More conservative growth estimates will cause emissions to fall more sharply.
However, climate groups voiced concerns as to whether the targets recommended by the CCA were realistic as they could be a weight on Australia and its emissions-intensive economy.
WWF Global Climate and Energy Initiative leader Samantha Smith said China had made commitments “beyond its responsibility as a developing country”.
China’s 2030 emissions pledge is strong. European Union leaders have agreed to a 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target of at least 40 percent compared to 1990.
Overall, policies to curb emissions are complex and at times inconsistent, the Committee on Climate Change said in its first report on the government’s progress.
In a case of dueling climate announcements, China also formally submitted its pledge as part of the United Nations climate process.
China is motivated by the need to tackle a persistent air pollution problem, limit climate impacts and expand its renewable energy job force, WRI said, adding that more than 3.4 million people in China are already working in the clean energy sector. These commitments will be enforceable on the national level.
“China’s climate commitment sets it on a clear path to transition away from heavily polluting coal to cleaner and sustainable energy sources like wind and solar”.
“China is becoming aware that the situation is more complicated than it initially seemed in Africa, and it is realising that it has a lot to learn from countries that have experience on the continent”, Alice Ekman, of the French Institute for Foreign Relations (IFRI), told RFI. China is responsible for around 25 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.
Tim Gore, Oxfam’s worldwide climate adviser, said: “China’s announcement to set ambitious goals to reduce emissions and increase renewables is welcome. But it would have been worthwhile to see finance and technology commitments from the developed countries”, said a senior government official involved in the global negotiations.