The U.S. and China have improved their policies to limit their carbon dioxide emission levels, the U.S.' Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Wednesday.
The U.S. had earlier announced that it would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020. In late 2014, it declared that it would bring its emission levels down by around 26-28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.
Meanwhile, China announced on Sept. 25 that it plans to expand its regional emissions program to a national level in 2017. The Asian giant targets the use of 20 percent of non-fossil fuels in its energy mix by 2025.
"China and the U.S. are the two countries with the most energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, together accounting for about 40 percent of global emissions in 2012," the EIA said.
"In the U.S., about 80 percent of all carbon emissions in 2012 were related to energy. China surpassed the U.S. as the world's largest carbon emitter in 2008. In 2012, China's per capita carbon emissions were about one-third the U.S. level," the EIA added.
However, both countries have taken significant steps to reduce carbon emissions, the U.S. administration noted.
For transportation-related emissions, the U.S. is trying to increase standards for more economic fuel consumption for vehicles. For electric-related emissions, its new Clean Power Plan aims to reduce carbon emissions from fossil-fueled electricity generation.
Reducing dependency on electricity production from fossil fuels is a harder task for China, since it consumes around 50 percent of the world's coal. The country is trying hard to balance its increasing energy demand, due to its economic growth, with its environmental targets.
"China's energy mix is dominated by coal, the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. If total carbon emissions are to peak near 2030, coal consumption would need to stop growing and perhaps decline substantially between 2015 and 2035," the EIA said.
Having the world's second largest economy, China's energy demand is still increasing, despite the slowdown in its economy, and this demand is projected to rise in the future despite the country's start in shifting from an industrial-based economy to less energy-intensive industries.
"As per capita income increases, China's growing middle class is expected to increase its demand for energy services, and China's balance of energy use by sector will continue to shift from industry to the building and transportation sectors," the EIA explained.
However, the U.S. administration said "Chinese transportation and building technologies have seen improvements in energy efficiency in recent years that should help China curb its growth in energy use."