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China vows to reach carbon neutrality before 2060

WASHINGTON: Chinese President Xi Jinping announced plans to boost his country's Paris climate accord target on Tuesday and called for a green revolution, just minutes after US President Donald Trump blasted China for "rampant pollution".

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Mr Xi said China would achieve a peak in carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060, the first time the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide has pledged to end its net contribution to climate change.

"China will scale up its intended Nationally Determined Contributions (to the Paris agreement) by adopting more vigorous policies and measures," Mr Xi said, urging all countries to pursue a "green recovery of the world economy in the post-Covid era".

He called for multilateral action after Mr Trump called the Paris climate agreement - with nearly 200 signatories - a one-sided deal and criticised China for being the world's largest source of carbon emissions.

Mr Todd Stern, US climate envoy under the Obama administration who worked on brokering a bilateral climate agreement with China in 2014, said the announcement was an "encouraging" step.

'BIG NEWS'

"Today's announcement by President Xi Jinping that China intends to reach carbon neutrality before 2060 is big and important news - the closer to 2050 the better," he said, but said the 2030 goal "won't be enough" to get it on track for the longer-term target.

The US and China have been hit this year by extreme weather of the kind predicted with climate change. Mr Trump, who has rolled back or pared down hundreds of environmental regulations, said the US had cut its carbon emissions by more than any country in the agreement.

"Those who attack America's exceptional environmental record while ignoring China's rampant pollution are not interested in the environment. They only want to punish America. And I will not stand for it," he said.

Climate diplomacy expert at Greenpeace Li Shuo said Mr Xi's climate pledge, minutes after Mr Trump's speech, was "clearly a bold and well calculated move".- REUTERS

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