China has surprised a UN General Assembly meeting by announcing that it is targeting “carbon neutrality” by 2060. Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke to the assembly by video link, calling for countries to make a green recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, saying China itself would begin to adopt more vigorous policies immediately. The announcement is the first time that China has pledged a long-term target for emissions, having previously set only a target for peaking emissions before 2030 (which Mr Xi reiterated as part of this announcement), and is thus highly significant. If “carbon neutrality” means net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, then the target could be seen as ambitious as the European goal of net-zero by 2050, because of China’s somewhat less carbon efficient current manufacturing processes, and because industry takes a higher proportion of the country’s economic output than most other countries. Part of China’s strategy may in time be to shift some manufacturing to other countries, as Europe itself has done, but regardless, with China currently the source of around 28% of global carbon dioxide emissions, the announcement is huge news. It will also give impetus to the next UN COP climate talks in Glasgow next year, and might even put pressure on the USA to set a long-term target – something that is likely to happen anyway if Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wins the November presidential elections.