Thursday 29 September 2016

'The single best chance that we have' - China and US enter 'game-changing' climate deal

Kathleen Hennessey and Josh Lederman

Published 03/09/2016 | 11:59

Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama shake hands during their meeting at the West Lake State Guest House in Hangzhou, China September 3, 2016
Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama shake hands during their meeting at the West Lake State Guest House in Hangzhou, China September 3, 2016

Co-operation is "the single best chance that we have" to save the planet, US president Barack Obama said, as he stood with China's president Xi Jinping to formally enter their two nations into last year's Paris climate change agreement.

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At a ceremony on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hangzhou, Obama and Xi, representing the world's two biggest carbon emitters, delivered documents to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.

U.S. President Barack Obama arrives on Air Force One at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016
U.S. President Barack Obama arrives on Air Force One at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016

The papers certified the US and China have taken the necessary steps to join the Paris accord that set nation-by-nation targets for cutting carbon emissions.

"This is not a fight that any one country, no matter how powerful, can take alone," Obama said of the pact. "Some day we may see this as the moment that we finally decided to save our planet."

Xi, speaking through a translator, said he hoped the announcement would spur more countries to take action.

"Our response to climate change bears on the future of our people and the wellbeing of mankind," he said.

The announcement means the accord could take force by the end of the year, a faster-than-anticipated timeline.

The ceremony took place shortly after Obama arrived in the scenic Chinese city of Hangzhou for the annual summit of G20 industrialised and emerging economies.

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