WASHINGTON: Chinese President Xi Jinping announced plans to boost his countrys Paris climate accord target on Tuesday (Sep 22) and called for a green revolution, just minutes after US President Donald Trump blasted China for "rampant pollution".

Addressing the UN General Assembly, Xi said China would achieve a peak in carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060, the first time the worlds biggest emitter of carbon dioxide has pledged to end its net contribution to climate change.

"China will scale up its intended Nationally Determined Contributions (to the Paris agreement) by adopting more vigorous policies and measures," Xi said, urging all countries to pursue a "green recovery of the world economy in the post-COVID era".

Xi used the lectern to call for multilateral action on climate change after Trump called the Paris climate agreement - with nearly 200 signatories - a one-sided deal and criticised China for being the world’s largest source of carbon emissions.

Todd Stern, US climate envoy under the Obama administration who worked on brokering a bilateral climate agreement with China in 2014, said the announcement was an "encouraging" step.

"Today’s announcement by President Xi Jinping that China intends to reach carbon neutrality before 2060 is big and important news - the closer to 2050 the better," he said, but said the 2030 goal "wont be enough" to get it on track for the longer-term target.

The United States and China have been hit this year by extreme weather of the kind predicted with climate change. In China, heavy rains over the summer unleashed the most punishing flood season in three decades, while the United States is facing one of its busiest hurricane seasons at the same time that record wildfires ravage Western states.

Trump has referred to climate change as a "hoax" and in 2017 pulled the United States out of the Paris accords laying out an international approach to the problem. Joe Biden, his Democratic presidential challenger and a former vice president, has included climate change on his list of major crises facing the United States.

Trump, who has rolled back or pared down hundreds of environmental regulations, said the United States had reduced its carbon emissions by more than any country in the agreement.

"Those who attack America’s exceptional environmental record while ignoring China’s rampant pollution are not interested in the environment. They only want to punish America. And I will not stand for it," Trump said.

Li Shuo, a climate diplomacy expert at Greenpeace, said Xi’s climate pledge, minutes after Trump’s speech, was "clearly a bold and well calculated move".

Although many analysts have predicted that China was already on track to achieve peak emissions by 2030, the formal announcement was welcomed by the European Union, which has been negotiating with China to set a target for carbon neutrality and to announce a peak date. The EU had been urging Beijing to bring the date forward to 2025.

"I welcome the announcement by President Xi that China has set a date for its CO2 emissions to peak and will become carbon neutral before 2060," said Frans Timmermans, vice president for the European Green Deal, while adding that every country needs to ramp up its climate targets.

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