United Nations, Sep 23 : Chinese President Xi Jinping surprised the world by announcing the country will strive to reach carbon neutrality by 2060 and will peak emissions 'by 2030' rather than 'around 2030'.
The announcement, a significant step in the fight against climate change, was made by XI via videolink at the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.
China is responsible for around 28 per cent of global emissions.
Reacting to the development Helen Mountford, Vice President (Climate and Economics) with the World Resources Institute said Chinese President Xi sent an extremely important signal with his unexpected announcement that China will strive for carbon neutrality by 2060 and strengthen its national climate commitment, including peaking emissions before 2030.
"The devil will be in the details and China should set more specific near-term targets and an earlier peaking date, but China's direction of travel toward a zero-carbon future is coming into focus.
"This announcement will send positive shockwaves through diplomatic circles and should prompt greater climate ambition from other major emitters.
The case for ambitious climate action is stronger than ever and can deliver a strong economic recovery from Covid-19.
"Bold climate policy measures can grow China's economy, create jobs and position the country well to compete and lead in a low-carbon 21st century economy."
Indian-origin Alok Sharma, the UK's minister to lead the crucial UN climate talks to be hosted by Britain in 2021, said he was pleased to see Chinese President Xi Jinping's commitment to his country reaching carbon neutrality by 2060 and to submitting an enhanced NDC flag of China.
"I look forward to hearing more from our Chinese partners and working together to deliver successfully," he tweeted.
In a statement President Xi said, "Covid-19 reminds us that humankind should launch a green revolution and move faster to create a green way of development.
The Paris Agreement on climate change charts the course for the world to transition to green and low-carbon development.
"It outlines the minimum steps to be taken to protect the earth, our shared homeland, and all countries must take decisive steps to honour this Agreement.
China will scale up its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions by adopting more vigorous policies and measures.
"We aim to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.
We call on all countries to pursue innovative, coordinated, green and open development for all, seize the historic opportunities presented by the new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation, achieve a green recovery of the world economy in the post-Covid era and thus create a powerful force driving sustainable development," Xi added.