US-China carbon deal 'ushers in new era in climate fight'

Reports that a deal to tackle carbon emissions between China and the US 'ushers in new era in the fight against global warming' feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Independent reports that "the battle to save the world from the ravages of climate change was given an unprecedented boost" as the US and China "joined forces to announce secretly negotiated and radical actions to combat global warming". The newspaper says the move "will see both countries – which between them emit 44 per cent of the world’s CO2 – make unprecedented commitments to cut their carbon emissions".

A leader in the Telegraph says the "great flaw" in Britain’s commitment to renewable energy "was that the contribution it made to global carbon reduction was disproportionate to the damage inflicted on the economy". But it says with the deal between the world’s two biggest carbon emitters is a game changer. "The importance of this week’s agreement between these two economic behemoths to clean up their act ... cannot be overstated - a low-carbon world suddenly seems possible", it says.

The Telegraph’s environment editor, Geoffrey Lean, says the agreement "does much to undermine the insistence by some leading Conservative politicians that Britain is foolishly out in front, and should now suspend or repeal its Climate Change Act, which requires a massive 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from 1990 levels by 2050".

Guardian columnist and outgoing National Trust chairman, Simon Jenkins, hits out at the government’s changes to the planning system. Jenkins says that during his time at the National Trust, he was "amazed at the gullibility of politicians to the spurious claim that recovery from recession lay in building executive homes in meadows, not in renewing Britain’s exhausted town and city centres. Even where there might be a case for more rural building, Eric Pickles, the local government secretary, decided to let the market rip, be it for houses, warehouses, turbines or hypermarkets. Every county in Britain seemed under siege". Jenkins adds that the result was "not growth but war". "My miserable duty was to be driven by planners round derelict urban acres, where factories, schools and shops were emptying while costly infrastructure was built by taxpayers in the surrounding country. David Cameron claimed this was sustainable. It was dumb. The ‘smart city’ movement is dead in Britain".

London’s Evening Standard reports that Sainsbury’s chief executive, Mike Coupe, has said that "one in four of his stores are failing and 40 planned openings have been mothballed as he focuses on tightening costs". The newspaper says "convenience stores and online have seen customers desert out-of-town superstores. However, Coupe insisted the larger sites still had a part to play in the business".

The Independent reports that the site in Mecca in Saudi Arabia where the Prophet Mohamed is said to have been born is about to be "buried under marble" and replaced by a huge royal palace. The newspaper says the work is "part of a multibillion-pound construction project in the holy city which has already resulted in the destruction of hundreds of historic monuments".

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