Fighting climate change is a " global consensus" and an " international responsibility, " Chinese Premier Li Keqiang says amid reports Trump to pull U. S. out
BEIJING — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang vowed to work with the European Union to uphold the Paris climate accord Thursday, saying that fighting climate change was a “global consensus” and an “international responsibility.”
Speaking in Berlin about the Paris climate deal, he said that, “China in recent years has stayed true to its commitment.”
Without mentioning the U. S. specifically, he said China has been “actively promoting the Paris agreement and we were one of the first countries to ratify the Paris agreement.”
He added, “Fighting climate change is a global consensus, it’s not invented by China… and we realize that this is a global consensus agreement and that as a big developing nation we should shoulder our international responsibility.”
President Donald Trump is expected to announce his decision on whether to abandon the Paris climate accord Thursday afternoon. Abandoning the pact would isolate the U. S. from a raft of international allies who spent years negotiating the 2015 agreement to fight global warming and pollution by reducing carbon emissions in nearly 200 nations.
While traveling abroad last week, Trump was repeatedly pressed to stay in the deal by European leaders and the Vatican. Withdrawing would leave the United States aligned only with Russia among the world’s industrialized economies.
While not mentioning the U. S. by name, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters overnight that climate change is a “global challenge” that no country can ignore, and that her country would work with the European Union to uphold the deal, even if the U. S. pulls out.
“No matter whether other countries’ positions may change, we will continue to uphold” a model of sustainable development, Hua said at a regularly scheduled news conference.
When asked about whether China had spoken to the Trump administration about the climate agreement, she said, “China and the United States have close communications about a wide variety of topics, and of course, this includes the issue of climate change.”
China is the top emitter of man-made carbon dioxide emissions, and the United States is second. Both were key to reaching an agreement at Paris in 2015, which came into force in November and aims to keep global warming below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit compared with pre-industrial times.
Trump claimed before taking office that climate change was a “hoax” created by China to hurt the U. S. economy, an assertion that stands in defiance of broad scientific consensus.
In March, he signed an executive order to roll back Obama-era policies regulating carbon emissions. Trump said he wanted to create more coal mining jobs, though industry analysts say demand is likely to decline as the price of solar, wind and other alternatives falls.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will discuss the Paris agreement in talks with EU leaders in Brussels on Friday.
“We wish to work with the E. U. to strengthen our communication and practical cooperation in climate change, ” Hua said.
Asked what kind of exchanges Beijing’s leaders have had with Trump regarding his decision, Hua said China and the United States “have maintained close communications at various levels” on subjects including climate change.