China promises cut in carbon dioxide emissions

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hu Jintao, the president of China, has promised to reduce carbon dioxide emissions produced by his country, one of the largest polluters in the world.

Hu Jintao

In a speech to world leaders at the United Nations' climate change summit in New York on Tuesday, the president said that China plans to receive 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

"We will endeavour to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by a notable margin by 2020 from the 2005 level," Hu said. He did not set a figure for the cuts, saying they will be made based on China's economic output.

Hu encouraged developing countries "to avoid the old path of polluting first and cleaning up later." He added that "they should not, however, be asked to take on obligations that go beyond their development stage, responsibility and capabilities."

Meanwhile, Japan's new Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, told world leaders at the summit that his nation plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from 1990 levels by 2020.

Prime Minister Hatoyama and President Hu also called for financial support from developed countries to help developing nations achieve climate change goals and sustainable development.

US President Barack Obama, who was also at the summit, encouraged all countries to work together to reduce their carbon emissions.

"Our generation's response to this challenge will be judged by history, for if we fail to meet it — boldly, swiftly, and together — we risk consigning future generations to an irreversible catastrophe. The time we have to reverse this tide is running out," he said.