China, the world’s biggest polluter, has claimed it will set legal limits on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions starting from 2016. The announcement comes just a day after the US unveiled tighter restrictions on power plants in order to cut pollution by 30%.
The news is likely to provide a major boost for next year’s climate negotiations in Paris, considering that the US and China alone account for around 37% of global emissions.
China had already announced its intentions to set climate targets in May last year. He Jiankun, chairman of the country’s advisory committee on climate change, reaffirmed the commitment on Tuesday.
During a conference in Beijing, he said, “The government will use two ways to control CO2 emissions in the next five-year plan, by intensity and an absolute cap.”
The move follows the unveiling of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s new guidelines to cut carbon pollution from power plants by 30% by 2030. The measure was praised by investors and policymakers, with UN climate chief Christiana Figueres saying it could lead to other countries following its example and cutting emissions.
Greenpeace UK’s chief scientist Doug Parr commented, “In the last 24 hours we’ve had two major announcements from China and the US which send a powerful signal to other world leaders ahead of crucial climate talks later this year.
“The Chinese government has already set out ambitious plans to cut the country’s reliance on coal – an additional cap on CO2 suggests the country’s leaders are serious about tackling their emission problem.”
Photo: Spring Reilly via Flickr