Some 100 heads of state gathered at the UN on Tuesday for an unprecedented day long conference for climate change action with leaders like presidents Obama and Hu Jintao of China acknowledging that agreement was an important goal. At the same time they also stressed that each country had its own needs to pursue. President Obama delivered an address to the gathering of leaders at the General Assembly hall on Tuesday.
Negotiators have been struggling to reach an agreement over a deal to cut emissions that will be deliberated at Copenhagen in December. The UN organisers are hoping that the gathering of the world's leaders would pave the way for negotiations at Copenhagen and give the talks a new political urgency.
Hu said that while China had made great progress in development, it had a long way to go in terms of relative wealth per individual vis-à-vis developed economies and that needed to be factored in while taking action of emissions.
Hu added that due to their low development level and shortage of capital and technology, developing countries had limited capabilities and means to deal with climate change. He added that developing countries need to strike a balance between economic growth, social development and economic growth.
He said that China would take four steps in the direction of greener development though he did put specific numbers to the targets adding that China would cut carbon dioxide emissions by a 'notable margin' by 2020 as compared with 2005 levels. He added that China would drastically increase the size of forests, increase use of nuclear of non-fossil fuels to 15 per ent of power by 2020 and work to develop a green economy.
China has been the world's largest polluter since 2007 when it overtook the US, and the two nations between them emit 40 per cent of the world's carbon emissions. The US has maintained that its willingness to accept mandatory emissions requirements was linked to domestic law and a new law stalled by the health care debate was awaiting Senate action.