China's climate pledge to meet a quarter of global needs: IEAPARIS — China's pledge on greenhouse gases means it would shoulder more than a quarter of the CO2 emissions cuts needed to avoid dangerous global warming, a top economist said Thursday.
"China alone would be responsible for more than 25 percent of the reductions the world needs" to limit planetary warming to 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), said Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency (IEA).
"The world needs to decrease the emissions by 3.8 gigatonnes [billion tonnes of carbon dioxide], and China would cut by around one gigatonne.
"This would put China at the forefront of the fight against climate change," he told AFP in an interview.
In a long-awaited announcement, the world's No. 1 emitter declared on Thursday it would use 40- to 45-percent less carbon per unit of GDP by 2020 compared with 2005 levels -- in essence, a massive energy-efficiency drive.
Birol also hailed Washington's announcement the day before that the US would -- relative to a 2005 benchmark -- scale back carbon emissions by 17 percent by 2020, 30 percent by 2025, 42 percent by 2030 and 83 percent by 2050.
"This decision is going to change the entire mood and structure of the Copenhagen discussion," he said of the US position.
The United States and China are the world's two biggest carbon polluters, together accounting for 41 percent of global emissions, according to IEA figures.
With the exception of India, they are also the last major emitters to put their cards on the table ahead of the December 7-18 UN climate talks in Copenhagen tasked with hammering out a durable fix to global warming.
Jim "Corporate Lackey" Inhofe and "Boner" Boehner for the Bronze... if we're lucky...