China will cut its “carbon intensity” or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 40 to 45 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, reports the Wall Street Journal. This follows the U.S. pledge to cut GHG emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050, according to the article.
Frank Jotzo, deputy director, Australian National University Climate Change Institute, told Reuters that China’s absolute emissions would still keep growing, just not quite as fast. He also noted it is comparable with other countries’ proposals including the U.S. 17 percent reduction target.
However, both proposals don’t address one of the key issues to be discussed at the Copenhagen climate talks: which countries will pay and how much will they pay to help finance clean-energy technologies in developing countries, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The proposals may not satisfy the European Union (EU), which has pledged to cut GHG emissions the equivalent of a 14 percent reduction from 2005 levels, or a 24 percent cut from 2005 levels by 2020, if other nations outside the EU make substantial cuts, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Many industry stakeholders welcomed the news but industry sectors like the European steel industry claim that climate change goals will not be met if large industrial emitters such as the Chinese steel industry are not subject to equal CO2 emission reductions, according to the European Confederation of Iron and Steel Industries (EUROFER).
The pledges by the U.S. and China followed a recent leak of hacked emails from UK climate researchers that suggest they be overstating the case for global warming.
Despite the leaked emails that rallied opponents against the global warming theory, traders in the $126 billion carbon market, who want tight climate targets to driver higher demand for emissions permits, welcomed the proposals by China and the U.S., reports Reuters.
However, an Australian climate legislation vote delay, which includes a cap-and-trade scheme for one of the world’s largest emitters, indicates challenges are ahead for a global deal, reports Reuters.
The U.S. and India also pledged to fight climate change together through a “green” partnership, that may help support a global deal in Copenhagen, reports the Guardian. Both countries agreed to significant GHG mitigation measures.
The partnership also includes the creation of a joint research center funded by both governments to develop energy-efficient and carbon capture and storage technologies, reports the Guardian. National labs in both countries will also work together to expand solar and wind energy potential, according to the article.