Climate Action

China and U.S. sign historic Climate Leaders deal

Key climate deals were signed on Tuesday at the China-U.S. Climate Leaders Summit in Los Angeles

  • 17 September 2015
  • William Brittlebank

Eleven Chinese cities and provinces announced that their carbon emissions will fall earlier than China's national target of 2030, at a meeting of Chinese and United States’ officials on Tuesday.

The move is designed to generate momentum in the build up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December in Paris when a global climate deal is due to signed to limit emissions and prevent catastrophic levels of global warming.

The Climate Leaders Declaration and a series of deals were signed on Tuesday by U.S. governors and mayors with their Chinese counterparts at the China-U.S. Climate Leaders Summit in L.A.

The two-day meeting, officially called the "China-U.S. Climate-Smart/Low Carbon Cities Summit," was the first of its kind at the municipal level between the two countries and builds on a key climate deal confirmed in November between U.S. President Barack Obama (pictured right) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (left).

As part of the China-U.S. Joint Announcement on Climate Change, the U.S. has agreed to cut greenhouse emissions by up to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025, and China promised that it will reach peak emissions by 2030.

The new announcement from the Chinese cities as well as emission reduction pledges from more than a dozen U.S. states and cities is part of a joint declaration that municipal and regional leaders from the world's two biggest GHG emitting nations signed during the L.A. meeting this week.

Brian Deese, a senior adviser to President Obama, said: "The commitments that the Chinese and American cities are taking ... are a very important component of our broader efforts to deepen climate cooperation and to show that ... the two largest emitters in the world are taking seriously our obligation to meet the ambitious goals that we set out last year."

Xi is visiting the United States next week and climate change is set to be high on the agenda.

Beijing and Guangzhou, two of China's biggest cities, said they will reach peak emissions by 2020, 10 years earlier than the national target.

Others major cities including Shenzhen have committed to reaching peak emissions by 2022.

The cities and provinces that have made the pledges have formed the Alliance of Peaking Pioneer Cities, which represents one-quarter of China’s urban carbon emissions, according to the White House.

U.S. cities including Los Angeles, Houston and Atlanta as well as states such as California and Connecticut also confirmed a range of climate pledges, including emission reduction targets, renewable energy initiatives, and cutting the use of fuels used in transport.