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China steadfast on climate support

By Zhao Huanxin in Washington | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-03-30 10:57

Beijing has promised to stick to its climate commitments and is urging other stakeholders to do so, while environmental officials from the European Union to the United Nations have called for bolder global action on the climate.

"We believe that the Paris Agreement did not come easily," China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Wednesday, hours after US President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at reversing his predecessor Barack Obama's climate policies.

"We still believe that relevant sides should follow the trend of the times, seize the opportunity, honor their commitments and take active measures to promote the implementation of this agreement," Lu told a regular news briefing in Beijing.

Lu noted that members of the international community, including China and the US, have made major contributions to reach this high-level consensus.

According to earlier reports, the US intended to cut its carbon emissions by 26-28 percent below their 2005 level in 2025, and China vowed to achieve peak CO2 emissions around 2030.

"That is what this is all about: bringing back our jobs, bringing back our dreams and making America wealthy again," Trump said during a signing ceremony at the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters, where he was joined by more than a dozen coal miners.

"No matter how the climate policies of other countries may evolve, China, as a responsible, major developing country, will not change its determination, targets or policy measures in tackling climate change," Lu said.

China's coal consumption dropped by 2 percentage points to 62 percent of total energy consumption last year, and Premier Li Keqiang said early this month that the government would suspend or postpone construction on or eliminate no less than 50 million kilowatts of coal-fired power generation capacity this year, in part to optimize the energy mix and make room for clean energy to develop.

Miguel Arias Canete, the European Union commissioner for climate action, said in

a statement on Tuesday, "We regret the US is rolling back the main pillar of its climate policy, the clean power plan."

Ahead of his visit to China from Wednesday to Sunday, Arias Canete said, "The EU and China are joining forces to forge ahead on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and accelerate the global transition to clean energy."

He said Europe and China's collaborations on emissions trading and clean technologies are bearing fruit.

"Now is the time to further strengthen these ties to keep the wheels turning for ambitious global climate action," he said, according to a statement posted on the European Commission's website.

Arias Canete was scheduled to meet Xie Zhenhua, China's special representative for climate change, on Wednesday.

Erik Solheim, executive director of United Nations Environment Programme, told Xinhua on Tuesday that it was not time to change course on the approach to climate change.

"The science tells us that we need bolder, more ambitious action," he said.

The UNEP said on its Twitter account, "Is global economic growth possible while honoring the #ParisAgreement? New study says yes."

The study, titled Perspectives for the Energy Transition: Investment Needs for a Low-Carbon Energy Transition, said the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency can achieve the emissions reductions needed to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees while permitting the global economy to grow.

(China Daily USA 03/30/2017 page1)

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