China and the US have made a joint announcement outlining a plan by both countries aimed at tackling climate change.
US President Barack Obama and China’s President Xi Jinping, who met in Beijing, are hoping their action will provide a spur for reducing global emissions ahead of next year’s international climate pact in Paris.
The FT reports that the US plans to reduce emissions by up to 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2025, while China said it expected its emissions to peak by 2030, though it would work on trying to get them to peak earlier. China added that it would also increase the non-fossil fuel share of its energy mix to around 20 per cent by 2030.
Beijing’s pledge to boost its use of non-fossil fuel will require it to deploy an extra 800-1,000 GW of nuclear, wind, solar and other zero emission generation capacity, more than all the coal-fired power plants that exist in China today and close to total current electricity generation capacity in the US.
Dr Jonathan Cobb of the World Nuclear Association welcomed the news from Beijing telling Power Engineering International, “The recent reports of the IPCC and the International Energy Agency have made it clear – if we are going to have any chance of meeting the carbon targets governments such as the US and China are setting we are going to need major investments in low carbon technologies like nuclear and renewables.”
The announcement is being seen as a big leap following previous failures by both powers to agree on the subject of emissions. Their combined emissions are nearly as big as the rest of the world’s put together.
China has long asserted that its emissions should not be compared to those of richer, developed nations. For Obama, the main resistance for a progressive renewable energy policy is domestic. He is set to face stern opposition from Republicans and the coal power industry.
According to the FT officials from each country have been quietly holding detailed talks about curbing their respective emissions from burning the fossil fuels that scientists say must be phased out to avoid potentially irreversible climate change.
A US official said on Wednesday that Washington’s targets were comparable to those of the EU in terms of average annual emissions reductions.
The next round of global climate talks will take place in Lima, Peru, where it is hoped negotiators will make progress on a draft text of the Paris agreement.
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