Chinese President Hu Jintao promised
to work toward curbing his country's carbon emissions by a significant margin by the year 2020 in an address
to the U.N. General Assembly last week.
"We will endeavor to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by a notable margin by 2020 from the 2005 level," Hu told a special summit on climate change.
In addition to answering detractors who see China and other developing nations as obstacles to a broad international agreement on fighting global warming, the statement buoyed
the drive for clean energy legislation in the U.S. Senate.
"That's encouraging," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) of the statement. "That will help us make decisions on our emission problems."
President Hu also added pledges to hasten the development of renewable energy technology in China, a decision that Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), a member of Sen. John Kerry's Foreign Relations Committee, said functions as a signal to U.S. industry. "They've figured out it's in their economic interest to be involved in this," Kaufman said. "This is one pledge that they're going to deliver on."