The world's 20 largest rich and emerging economies including China vowed Friday to "spare no effort" at upcoming climate change talks in Mexico, a year after Beijing stymied a deal in Copenhagen.
"We will spare no effort to reach a balanced and successful outcome in Cancun," the Group of 20 said in a statement issued at the end of two days of talks in Seoul.
The vow came less than three weeks before 194 countries meet in the Mexican resort city of Cancun for a second go at hammering out an agreement to curb greenhouse gases after 2012, when the current arrangement expires.
The climate gathering will take place in the lingering shadow of last December's Copenhagen summit, which ended in near-fiasco, due in no large part, critics say, to Chinese reluctance to agree to binding commitments.
"Addressing the threat of global climate change is an urgent priority for all nations," the G20 statement said.
"We reiterate our commitment to take strong and action-oriented measures and remain fully dedicated to UN climate change negotiations."
Despite the promise in Friday's statement, China has routinely voiced reluctance to take the lead in curbing greenhouse gases, saying it is not to blame for the situation the world is in now.
"Developed countries have their historic responsibility over climate change," Sun Zhen, a top China climate change official said earlier this month in Hong Kong. "There is no reason not to deal with this primary concern."
China and the United States clashed at a UN climate gathering last month in the Chinese city of Tianjin, accusing each other of blocking progress ahead of the Cancun summit.
The United States wants China, the world's largest source of the greenhouse gases blamed for climate change, to commit to curbing carbon emissions and developing countries to agree to more scrutiny of their climate claims.
China has rejected pressure for outside verification, saying it was a US attempt to divert attention from the fact the United States has so far failed to get emissions-cut legislation through Congress.
This law now appears even less likely to get the green light following massive wins in this month's mid-term elections for Republicans, who are generally less welcoming of environmental constraints on business.
As the prospect of a path-breaking deal in Cancun has dimmed, efforts have moved towards more modest and incremental steps.
This has resulted in a focus on smaller goals — deals on deforestation, progress on financing and technology transfer — which were echoed in the G20 statement.
"We all are committed to achieving a successful, balanced result that includes the core issues of mitigation, transparency, finance, technology, adaptation, and forest preservation," the statement said.
The G20 members pledged to back sustainable development, enabling countries to "leapfrog old technologies in many sectors".
"We are committed to support country-led green growth policies that promote environmentally sustainable global growth along with employment creation while ensuring energy access for the poor," it said.