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China's PM Li announces climate pledge for Paris talks

Chinese PM Li Keqiang, on a visit to France, has announced his country's contribution to a global climate deal set to be adopted in Paris in December. But he is also expected to sign dozens of trade deals.

Li, who was visiting the French capital, Paris, said in a statement that China would aim to reduce its carbon emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 60-65 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

The goals announced by Li (pictured above, left in photo) on Tuesday included other previous pledges

made last year in a joint statement with the United States

, such as achieving a peak in overall emissions by around 2030 and raising the proportion of energy generated using non-fossil sources to around 20 percent by the same year.

Li said the goals showed "that China is fully committed to playing an even greater part in global governance and in advancing the common development of mankind."

French President Francois Hollande said China's pledge confirmed "its commitment to building an 'ecological civilization.'"

The pledges, which were also formally submitted to the United Nations later on Tuesday, mean that all three of the world's top carbon emitters have now announced their targets for the Paris deal, after the United States and the European Union did so earlier this year.

The US welcomed Li's announcement, with President Barack Obama's senior adviser, Brian Deese, saying in a statement that the pledge would pave the way for a successful agreement at the Paris talks.

Historic pact

The UN talks scheduled for December in Paris have been tasked with producing the

first-ever pact requiring both developed and developing nations to take action to combat climate change

.

A spokesman for the environmental group Greenpeace, Li Shuo, said the announcement by the Chinese premier was "the first step for a more active role."

But he warned that "all players - including China and the EU - need to up their game" to achieve a successful and effective deal in Paris.

Economic ties to the fore

Li's trip to France is also expected to seal the signing of trade deals worth billions of euros, including with European aerospace giant Airbus, energy group Alstom, French container shipping company CMA-CGM and electricity giant Engie, according to sources close to French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

During a trip to Beijing six months ago, Valls had called for trade to be "rebalanced" between the two countries, with France importing two and a half times as much from China as China does from France.

On Wednesday, Li will meet with Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in the southern city of Marseille, and will wrap up his French tour in Toulouse, also in the south, where he will visit the Airbus headquarters and attend a France-China seminar.

tj/msh (AP, AFP)

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