09/24/2014, 00.00
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UN climate summit: China announces cut in emissions

For the first time Beijing promises drastic measures to combat climate change. Beijing calls on "all" to adopt green technologies and low-carbon economy. President Barack Obama warns China and the United States have the responsibility of leading other nations.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - For the first time, China has pledged to take drastic measures to combat climate change at the UN Climate Change Summit in New York, saying it will reduce emissions by 2020 . Chinese vice-premier Zhang Gaoli said that China's carbon emissions - the highest in the world - will soon be drastically cut. Zhang was representing President Xi Jinping, who was absent from the meeting that started yesterday as was the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. For his part, President Barack Obama pointed out that changes in climate are taking place at a faster pace than the efforts to counteract them. And he warned Beijing and Washington have a responsibility to lead other nations.

The UN summit is the highest level climate meeting to take place since 2009; urgently convoked by  United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, it aims to push the 120 Member States to sign a new global climate agreement at the Paris Conference, scheduled for December of next year. Closing the meeting yesterday, the Secretary-General stressed that "never before have so many leaders gathered to commit to action on climate change."

Previously, United Nations launched experts had sounded the alarm about the effects of climate change, which may have "serious, widespread and irreversible" consequences.  These would include rising sea levels, increased risk of flooding and sweeping changes in crops.

Speaking at the summit, which was attended by prominent figures from the world of activism and entertainment, including actor Leonardo DiCaprio and his Chinese counterpart Li Bingbing, in addition to the Indian scientist Rajendra Pachauri, vice-premier Zhang pledged his country's commitment. China, he warned, is committed to limiting emissions or dramatically reducing them "as soon as possible."

"As a responsible major country, a major developing country,' the Chinese vice-premier said "China will make even greater effort to address climate change and take on international responsibilities that are commensurate with our national conditions and actual capabilities". Zhang concluded: "All countries need to follow the path of green and low carbon development that suits their national conditions, [and] set forth post-2020 actions in light of actual circumstances."


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