China climate announcements could turn tables on Congress


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Donald Trump was succinct last week when asked how the United States should respond to climate change.

"It's not a big problem at all," the leader in opinion polls for the Republican presidential nomination told a radio talk show host. "If you look at China, they're doing nothing about it."

This week, Chinese President Xi Jinping came to Washington and agreed to take new measures. Standing alongside President Barack Obama at the White House, the Chinese leader committed his country to a series of ambitious policies aimed at countering the rise in global temperatures.

Xi said China would introduce a national cap-and-trade system in 2017 that would limit carbon emissions across major industrial sectors, from electricity to iron and steel production. He also pledged to match tougher U.S. fuel standards on heavy trucks planned for 2019, and committed $3.1 billion to help poor countries adapt to climate change.

"President Xi has lifted the final political excuse of inaction in Washington,” said Li Shuo, a campaigner for environmental group Greenpeace.

China's aid money matches a similar pledge made last year by Obama, though the money has yet to be delivered to the UN-backed Green Climate Fund because of Republican refusal to appropriate the funds. (by Valerie Volcovici, Rueters)