Three of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters – China, U.S. and Brazil – have all announced new commitments to tackle climate change. The pledges come five months before the landmark United Nations conference in Paris.
China, currently the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gas, plans to cut its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 60-65% from 2005 levels by 2030. In a 16-page statement, China outlined their plans to increase their use of nuclear power and renewable energy. These pledges build on previous commitments made in November.
BBC's science editor David Shukman wrote: “This is a significant moment in international climate negotiations… Now we're witnessing the world's largest emitter playing by the UN's rules and promising even deeper cuts [than] those suggested some months back.”
Shukman does warn, however, that today’s announcement doesn’t mean China will stop depending on fossil fuels any time soon and explains that as China made these announcements, “it also began construction of a massive pipeline that will bring it a lot of gas from Russia.”
Brazil and the U.S. have also pledged to work closely to dramatically increase electricity generated from renewable sources, such as wind and solar power, by 2030. This follows the U.S. pledge to cut emissions by 28% by 2025. Brazil plans to double electrical power generated from renewable sources and the U.S. plans to triple it.
Every nation has to submit its plans for cutting emission in the run up to the United Nations meeting on climate change, which was decided at last December’s meeting in Peru. These government plans will hopefully form the basis of the new agreement to be decided on in Paris.
“Following progress during my trips to China and India, this shows that the world’s major economies can begin to transcend some of the old divides and work together to confront the common challenge that we face – something that we have to work on for future generations,” said President Obama, The New York Times reports.
The International Energy Agency explained in a statement that while climate commitments from countries like China, the U.S. and the EU won’t necessarily be enough to prevent global temperatures from increasing to 2°C (3.6°F) by the end of the century, they will “have a positive impact on future energy trends.”