New York

11 November 2014

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the joint announcement by the People’s Republic of China and the United States on post-2020 action on climate change

The Secretary-General commends the joint announcement by the Governments of the People’s Republic of China and the United States of their post-2020 action on climate change, as an important contribution to the new climate agreement to be reached in Paris next year.

The Secretary-General congratulates President Xi and President Obama on this significant and timely announcement, and thanks the two Presidents for their personal commitment to work together to remove any impediments to reaching an agreement in Paris.

Today, China and the United States have demonstrated the leadership that the world expects of them. This leadership demonstrated by the Governments of the world’s two largest economies will give the international community an unprecedented chance to succeed at reaching a meaningful, universal agreement in 2015.

The Secretary-General also welcomes the commitment expressed by both leaders to increase their level of ambition over time as well as the framing of their actions in recognition of the goal of keeping global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius. The joint announcement signals that the transition towards a low-carbon, climate resilient future is accelerating.

With the positive commitments made by Government, business, finance, and civil society leaders at the Climate Summit at UN Headquarters in September, followed by the ambitious decision taken by European Union leaders on their post-2020 emission reduction target in October, and now this highly significant joint announcement by China and the United States, the Secretary-General believes that a strong foundation has been laid and momentum is building towards a meaningful climate agreement in 2015.

He urges all countries, especially all major economies, to follow China and the United States' lead and announce ambitious post-2020 targets as soon as possible, but no later than the first quarter of 2015.