US President Barack Obama said Wednesday that Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed with him on the need to fight climate change by moving ahead in international negotiations.
Meeting with Hu at the White House, Obama touched on last month’s accord in Cancun, Mexico and the conference the previous year to Copenhagen that inched forward on setting up a new global agreement on climate change.
“I believe that as the two largest energy consumers and emitters of greenhouse gases, the United States and China have a responsibility to combat climate changes by building on the progress at Copenhagen and Cancun and showing the way to a clean energy future,” Obama told a joint news conference.
“And President Hu indicated that he agrees with me on this issue,” Obama said.
Hu said alongside Obama that China “will work with the United States and other countries to effectively address global challenge” including climate change.
The Obama administration has insisted that China — which has surpassed the United States as the top emitter of greenhouse gases blamed for climate change — take clear, verifiable action under the next international agreement.
The administration hopes that commitments by Beijing could also improve the environment in the US Congress, where many members of the rival Republican Party are deeply opposed to legislation on climate change.
The Cancun summit set up the practicalities for a global fund to distribute aid to the least developed countries that are expected to be worst affected by climate change.
While the summit’s achievements were modest, the mood improved from the chaotic Copenhagen summit where China faced heavy criticism from the West over its role.