PARIS (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged on Monday to work together for a climate change agreement at international talks in Paris to ensure a "low carbon global economy" this century.
At the start of bilateral talks with his Chinese counterpart, Obama said the two countries' decision to make their own emissions-reduction pledges last year had helped drive other nations to follow suit.
More than 150 world leaders arrived at United Nations climate change talks in Paris armed with promises and accompanied by high expectations as they look to hold back the Earth's rising temperatures.
"As the two largest economies in the world and the two largest carbon emitters, we have both determined that it is our responsibility to take action," Obama said, with Xi sitting next to him.
"Our leadership on this issue has been absolutely vital."
Obama said the two countries would work together at the talks to achieve an agreement that moves toward a low carbon global economy this century and "robust" financial support for developing countries adapting to climate change.
Xi said the two countries would work side by side to ensure the Paris conference achieved its goals, and he noted that cooperation between the United States and China at a time of multiple global challenges was critical.
"The world economy is recovering slowly, terrorism is on the rise and climate change is a huge challenge. There is more instability and uncertainty in (the) international situation," he said through a translator.
Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Tom Heneghan