China-U.S. Move to Curb Global Warming Loosens Climate Logjam in Developing World

China’s decision to join with U.S. President Barack Obama in reining in greenhouse gases jump-starts the global fight against climate change, removing an excuse for inaction in developing nations.
Chinese President Xi Jinping broke ranks with India, Brazil and South Africa in setting a target for the first time to reduce fossil-fuel emissions by 2030. In turn, Obama pledged to double the pace of cutting carbon dioxide starting in 2020.

The U.S. and China are the biggest polluters, responsible for almost 40 percent of the gases linked to global warming. Their new partnership toward a global limit is essential to draw countries whose emissions are rising into a deal that the United Nations intends to adopt at the end of 2015.

“This could be a first critical step to unlocking the logjam in the climate-change negotiations,” said Yvo de Boer, who oversaw the UN effort on global warming from 2006 to 2010, in a telephone interview from Seoul. “It becomes much easier for other pieces of the puzzle to fall in place.”

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