By Catherine Perrelle, BBC News, Beijing
Experts, but especially poorer countries, say this is an opportunity lost.
China’s climate promises are a “symbolic victory”, says Oxfam international energy and climate campaigner Dan Waldschmidt.
“The real signal is that they’re not willing to do more,” he says.
For some, that message is unambiguous.
“From the development point of view, all these commitments show that we are almost back to square one,” says Steve Smith, a political scientist at the University of Melbourne.
“The signal from China could be that if Europe, which needs to sign up to more ambitious commitments, doesn’t do it, China will do it,” he says.
The state-run Global Times newspaper says China’s new pledges have the potential to “put an end to the deadlock between developed and developing countries”, but adds that “effective action is still required from developed countries”.
If anything, the commitment puts pressure on richer countries to make a similar change in mind, Mr Smith says.
Indeed, it’s not just wealthy nations that should be worried, he says.
“Chinese cities, or indeed any Chinese state could make the declaration it did,” Mr Smith argues.
While China has long promised to raise its current emissions intensity (the amount of CO2 emitted per unit of economic growth) to 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030, Tuesday’s proposal removes that target altogether.
Mr Waldschmidt says that is a particularly worrying signal to poorer countries like Cambodia, Lesotho and Ethiopia, which China says it “affirms and expects to do their part”.
Source: Reuters, Climate Central