China and the U.S. agreed that greater climate-protection efforts are needed before a binding global treaty comes into force in 2020, joining nations at a meeting in Germany to acknowledge current pledges fall short.
Delegates from about 35 governments agreed that countries’ voluntary commitments to cut emissions are insufficient to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) and nations shouldn’t wait until a treaty is ready, German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier told reporters in Berlin today.
“We need a higher level of ambition before 2020,” Altmaier said after hosting the two-day meeting, which was aimed at preparing for a United Nations summit later this year in Qatar. “We urgently need additional climate-protection measures.”
Envoys from more than 190 governments who met in Durban, South Africa, in December agreed to discuss replacing the Kyoto Protocol, which sets emission targets only for developed states. The U.S. never accepted Kyoto because it excluded fast-expanding economies such as China, the biggest polluter, and has joined calls to devise a new treaty that will take effect by 2020.