Barack Obama and Xi Jinping finalised the deal at the Apec summit in Beijing
Barack Obama and Xi Jinping finalised the deal at the Apec summit in Beijing

China and the US, the two biggest polluters in the world, have been secretly negotiating for nine months to agree what Barack Obama has dubbed a “historic” deal on reducing carbon emissions.

The US has pledged to reduce emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2025 compared to 2005 levels and China pledged to reduce their emissions from 2030 onwards.

Because this is the first time that China has set an approximate date for an emissions peak, the news has been welcomed by the international community, however there are issues.

One problem is that the US, which has a far higher carbon footprint per capita than China, is using 2005 as its benchmark, as opposed to the international standard of 1990 – this makes the figures look more favourable than they are in reality.

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