Ban Ki-moon, right, praised world leaders at the summit
Chinese President Hu Jintao gave no details about the measures, which should mean emissions grow less quickly than the economy.
China is the world biggest polluter, according to some measurements.
The US, the world's other major emitter, said China's proposals were helpful but figures were needed.
About 100 leaders attended the talks, ahead of the Copenhagen summit which is due to approve a new treaty.
At the close of the meeting, Mr Ban said: "While the summit is not the guarantee that we will get the global agreement, we are certainly one step closer to that global goal today."
He praised world leaders for their desire to tackle climate change.
"Climate change is a defining challenge of our time, he said.
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