from the obama-sharing-world-leadership-with-china dept.
The NYT reports that President Obama spoke at the United Nations Climate Change Summit and challenged China to make the same effort to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions and join a worldwide campaign to curb global warming. Obama's words were directly focused on putting the onus on China, an essential partner of the United States if a global climate treaty is to be negotiated by 2015. The United States and China bear a “special responsibility to lead,” said Obama, “That’s what big nations have to do.” The United States, Obama said, would meet a pledge to reduce its carbon emissions by 17 percent, from 2005 levels, by 2020—a goal that is in large part expected to be met through proposed EPA regulation.
There were indications that China might be ready with its own plan, although many experts say they will be skeptical until Chinese officials reveal the details. A senior Chinese official said his country would try to reach a peak level of carbon emissions “as early as possible.” That suggested that the Chinese government, struggling with air pollution so extreme that it has threatened economic growth, regularly kept millions of children indoors and ignited street protests, was determined to show faster progress in curbing emissions. In recent years, the Chinese government has sent other signals about addressing carbon pollution, some of them encouraging to environmental experts. “Five years ago, it was almost unimaginable to discuss China putting a cap on carbon, but now that is happening,” said Lo Sze Ping, chief executive officer of the World Wildlife Fund’s office in Beijing. “Chinese leaders have seen that it is imperative to move toward a low-carbon economy.”