A top China government advisor said at a recent Beijing conference that China, the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter will limit its total emissions for the first time by the end of this decade. The Chair of China's Advisory Committee on Climate Change said that an absolute cap on emissions will be introduced sometime within the next five years. Although the advisor later stated that these were only his own opinions, commentators expressed a cautious optimism about the statement.
The Chinese statement was said to create hopes that the Paris climate conference next year will see improved coordination behind the scenes and perhaps even competition for leadership on the issue.
The conference statement was made just days after the US Obama administration’s launch of new rules to cut carbon emissions from power plants by 30% by 2030. Chinese emissions per capita are still lower than the average American’s, but they are growing and are currently equivalent the average European's. Greenpeace in China comments that the carbon cap would be a positive and natural step forward given the introduction of an energy cap in 2011.