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US, China reach surprise deal on climate change

PTI 12 Nov 2014, 16:56:00 PM IST

Beijing: The world's top carbon emitters, the US and China, today reached a surprise deal on climate change calling for ambitious action to limit greenhouse gases, in a move that could lead to India de-linking itself from China at future global climate negotiations.

In a major breakthrough, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Barack Obama, announced respective post-2020 goals of coping with climate change after a comprehensive round of talks here.

Under the agreement, US intends to achieve an economy-wide target of reducing its emissions by 26 - 28 per cent below its 2005 level in 2025 and to make best efforts to reduce its emissions by 28 per cent, a joint statement issued at the end of the talks here said.

For its part, China intends to achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030 and to make best efforts to peak early and intends to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20 per cent by 2030, it said.

This is the first time China has agreed to peak its CO2 emissions, US officials said.

The surprise agreement between the top two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases came amid a debate in Indian official circles about the need for India to de-hyphenate itself from its long association with China on climate issues.  

According to a 2012 survey, the biggest contributors to fossil fuel emissions included China 27 per cent, US 14 per cent, the European Union 10 per cent, and India 6 per cent.  New Railway Minister and India's “sherpa” for the G20 summit, Suresh Prabhu has called for India and China to go their own ways on climate issues as India's near-complete alignment with China at global climate talks has been hurting New Delhi's interests.

In a recent media interaction, Prabhu had argued that while India and China may have some similarities in terms of social indicators China is way ahead of India.  Also India's greenhouse emissions are far lower than that of China, he said.

India at present is part of the BASIC group in the climate change negotiations. Its other members included China, South Africa and Brazil.

Commenting on Prabhu's comments, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said his ministry will articulate a stand and this matter would be discussed in the next two weeks before the climate talks to be held in Lima in December.