The US and China, which between them account for about 40% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, have struck an historic deal to limit carbon emissions.
China has committed for the first time to cap carbon emissions and America has unveiled a plan for deeper emissions reductions.
The deal comes after Australia this year made a radical change to its approach to emissions reductions when the Abbott Government scrapped the carbon tax introduced by the previous Labor government.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama agreed to the deal in Beijing.
In a joint announcement, China has set a challenging goal of increasing the share of non-fossil fuels to 20% of the its energy mix by 2030 at which time it aims to reach peak CO2 emissions.
President Obama announced a plan to cut US emissions by between 26% and 28% below 2005 levels by 2025.
America’s existing target is a 17% reduction by 2020.
US officials say the commitments are the result of months of dialogue between the world’s top two CO2 emitters.
The two countries want to encourage other nations to make pledges and deliver “a shot of momentum” into negotiations for a new global agreement set to go into force in 2020.
The scrapping of the carbon tax was a key Australian election commitment of the Liberal Party in the 2013 election.
One of the major arguments of its opponents was that a costly emissions reduction scheme in Australia was meaningless without global action, particularly from the US and China.