A former U.N. climate chief has expressed confidence that global climate talks in Paris later this year will produce an agreement, putting the world on track to begin the process of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

Yvo de Boer, now head of the Seoul-based Global Green Growth Institute, said in an interview Thursday that the current focus of the climate debate on finding greener models of economic growth is important to developing economies, including those in Asia, which cannot sacrifice poverty eradication in achieving climate goals.

De Boer, who was head of the U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009, lauded China's recent pledge to cut emissions as a signal Beijing recognizes its current economic model is not sustainable. China is the world's top carbon dioxide emitter.