China and US strike greenhouse gas deal

JUST days out from the G20, where the Abbott government has refused to put climate change on the agenda, the United States and China reached a landmark deal on carbon emissions.

President Barack Obama and President Xi Jingping announced the deal on Wednesday afternoon, after a side meeting to the APEC summit in Beijing.

Under the deal, both countries have pledged to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by about a third, down from current levels, over the next two decades.In contrast to the Abbott government's position on climate change, a White House statement labelled the issue "one of the greatest threats facing humanity".

The agreement said the two economic powerhouses of the world had a "critical role to play in combating climate change" and the deal was an effort to work together "for the common good".

Specifically, the deal means the US plans to reduce emissions by up to 28% from the 2005 level by 2025, while China pledges to constrain emissions so they grow no further from 2030 onwards.

Mr Xi said China would also plan to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to about 20% of its consumption mix by 2030.

The agreement was based not only on reducing both nations' emissions, but to "inject momentum" into global climate negotiations ahead of the next United Nations meeting on the issue in Paris next year.