Beijing, - China's top legislature has ratified the Paris global climate agreement, Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday. The country is the world's largest emitter of harmful CO2 emissions, which cause climate change.

China and the US are expected to jointly announce ratification at a bilateral summit later on Saturday. In a landmark deal struck in December, countries agreed to cut emissions enough to keep the global average rise in temperatures below 2C (36F).

Members of China's National People's Congress Standing Committee adopted "the proposal to review and ratify the Paris Agreement" on Saturday morning at the end of a week-long session.

The Paris deal is the world's first comprehensive climate agreement. It will only come into force legally after it is ratified by at least 55 countries, which between them produce 55% of global carbon emissions. Before China made this announcement, the 23 nations that had ratified the agreement accounted for just over 1% of emissions.

For 14 consecutive months meteorologists have recorded the hottest month on record, and the UK's Met Office has forecast that 2016 is likely to hit temperatures 1.1C above pre-industrial levels. Average temperatures worldwide are likely to increase more in the coming years as the effect of previous carbon emissions makes itself felt.

The G20 summit in Hangzhou, starting on Sunday, is a meeting of leaders from 20 countries. It is expected to be Barack Obama's last trip to Asia as the president of the US.

Source: Qatar News Agency