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China vows to uphold Paris climate deal

China said that as a “responsible” major country, it had a responsibility to carry forward the principles of the accord.

world Updated: Jun 02, 2017 23:23 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Paris Accord,climate change,Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying
File photo of Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.(AP)

China on Friday said it will uphold the Paris climate agreement after the US pulled out from it, saying that as a “responsible” major country, it was Beijing’s responsibility to carry forward the principles of the accord.

“We think the Paris Accord reflects the widest agreement of the international community with regards to climate change, and parties should cherish this hard-won outcome,” Hua Chunying, ministry of foreign affairs spokesperson said at the regular ministry briefing on Friday.

“We also hear that our actions and leading role are applauded by the international community. We will earnestly implement our obligations,” she said.

“China will work with all relevant parties to enhance cooperation, press ahead with the negotiation and implementation of enforcement rules, and promote green, low-carbon and sustainable global growth,” she said.

Hua added that the Chinese government attaches great importance to the climate change issue and is committed to pursuing innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development.

“Moreover, China has taken concrete moves to positively deal with climate change and made obvious progress, demonstrating the international responsibility shouldered by China and conforming with China’s choice of sustainable growth,” a state media report said Friday.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met European Union leaders at a summit in Brussels, where the two sides were expected to adopt a joint statement stressing their commitment to the Paris deal.

Hua added that Beijing wanted to strengthen cooperation with various parties to “push for the follow-up negotiations on the articles of the agreement and promote low-carbon green development”.

She said: “We also stand ready to cooperate with the international community members including the US to push forward green, low-carbon development globally.”

China’s reaction from Beijing came after US President Donald Trump triggered worldwide alarm on Thursday when he announced the US was withdrawing from the agreement, arguing that the deal was too lenient on India, China and Europe.

China and the US, the world’s first and second biggest polluters respectively, are together responsible for some 40% of the world’s emissions and experts warned that it is vital for both to remain in the Paris agreement if it is to have any chance of succeeding.

But China has also been investing billions in clean energy infrastructure, as its leaders battle to clear up the notorious, choking pollution that envelops its biggest cities, including Beijing.

Hua said the Chinese government will take “concrete action” in response to climate change. “This is a responsibility shouldered by China as a responsible major country and what China’s development calls for,” she said.

The US decision to withdraw from the deal will not stop global efforts to tackle the common challenge, official news agency, Xinhua wrote, quoting United Nations Environment Program executive director Erik Solheim on Thursday. “The science on climate change is perfectly clear — we need more action, not less. This is a global challenge. Every nation has a responsibility to act and to act now,” Solheim said in a statement.

The news agency published a commentary saying that Washington’s withdrawal was a “global setback”.

“Trump’s decision to ditch the Paris deal will leave a fairly big shoe for a single country to fill,” Xinhua wrote.

“But other major players including the European Union, China and India have reiterated their willingness to step up efforts in the face of the US change of heart over the landmark deal,” it said.

First Published: Jun 02, 2017 20:07 IST