China Announces Pledge to Curb Carbon Emissions

At the UN General Assembly gathering today to tackle global warming, President Hu Jintao announced steps China will take to reduce emissions, without naming a specific numerical goal. From the Guardian:

The proposals, delivered by President Hu Jintao, on the first morning of this week’s UN general assembly meeting, included the promise of a “notable” decrease in the carbon intensity of China’s economy – the amount of emissions for each unit of economic output – by 2020.

“At stake in the fight against climate change are the common interests of the entire world,” Hu said. “Out of a sense of responsibility to its own people and people across the world, China fully appreciates the importance and urgency of addressing climate change.”

Hu’s speech fell short of expectations that he would name the target for China’s carbon intensity, and observers suggested China was keeping its cards close to its chest until the climate change summit negotiations in Copenhagen in December. But the speech, coming soon after a change of rhetoric by India’s government, slightly raised hopes that a meaningful agreement can still be secured in Copenhagen.

Also in the Guardian, Jonathan Watts writes that Hu’s speech is “more terminology than substance.” See also a report from the New York Times. The Times has posted the full text of Hu’s speech.

Also see “Myth vs. Reality on International Climate Change Negotiations” from the Center for American Progress and “Has China taken the lead on climate change?” from the Foreign Policy blog.

The Financial Times also ran an editorial called “World will benefit from greener Hu.”