The Chinese government, in a break from its public position to not comment on the US election, has called out Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s plan to withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement that is expected to enter into force on Friday. Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative for climate change, rejected the plans by Trump to back out of the global climate deal signed by nearly 200 nations.
In a response to reporters on the question of how China would work with a Trump administration on climate change, Xie said that “a wise political leader should take policy stances that conform with global trends,” adding that “if they resist this trend, I don’t think they’ll win the support of their people, and their country’s economic and social progress will also be affected.”
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Trump in 2012 famously tweeted that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
At an oil and natural gas conference in North Dakota this past May, Trump previewed the pro-fossil fuel industry policies he would implement during his first 100 days in office. He pledged to cancel the American commitment to the Paris climate pact, saying that he would “stop all payments of the United States tax dollars to UN global warming programs.” He also committed during his first 100 days in the White House to rolling back environmental regulations put in place by President Obama, including the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the United States rule that allows the EPA to regulate land use to prevent water contamination.
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China and the US — the world’s two biggest greenhouse gas polluters responsible for nearly 38 percent of global emissions — both ratified the Paris climate accord in September. China has pledged to peak carbon emissions by 2030 while the US has vowed to slash emissions 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.
China plans to implement the world’s largest carbon trading market in 2017 to cut emissions. While some experts believe carbon pricing is the best route to achieving emissions reductions, in the absence of legislation in Congress, President Obama and the EPA introduced the Clean Power Plan that sets a national limit on carbon pollution produced from power plants. Trump has said he would eliminate the Clean Power Plan if elected.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has praised the Paris climate deal and promised to keep America’s commitment if elected. Accepting her party’s nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last July, she said that “I believe in science. I believe that climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs,” adding later in the address that “I’m proud that we shaped a global climate agreement — now we have to hold every country accountable to their commitments, including ourselves.”
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