US quits pact; reaction mounts

By Zhao Huanxin in Washington | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-06-02 11:18

The United States' withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, announced by President Donald Trump on Thursday, has intensified campaigns within the US and beyond to uphold the historical pact, while dealing a blow to international efforts to manage climate change.

Less than 18 months after the climate pact was adopted in Paris, Trump confirmed that the US is ditching the global deal that was sanctioned by his predecessor and nearly 200 other world leaders.

"As of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country," Trump said at the White House, fulfilling one of his top campaign promises.

Citing economic concerns, Trump said the US would begin negotiations either to re-enter the Paris accord or to have a new agreement "on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers", Reuters reported.

US quits pact; reaction mounts

He did not, however, offer details about how, or when, a formal withdrawal would take place.

Former president Barack Obama said the Trump administration is joining "a small handful of nations that reject the future" by withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.

Under the Obama administration, the US had agreed to reduce emissions to 26 percent to 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2025.

"Even in the absence of American leadership; even as this administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future, I'm confident that our states, cities and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we've got," Obama said in a statement.

Premier Li Keqiang, while visiting Germany on Thursday, said combating climate change is a global consensus and China pledged to tackle climate change "steadfastly".

In a joint press conference with his German counterpart Angela Merkel in Berlin, Li said China will continue to work steadfastly to implement the commitment of the Paris climate deal and join hands with all parties to tackle climate change.

Li, who is on a three-day official visit to Europe, said China, a large developing country, should shoulder its international responsibilities to jointly address the challenge of climate change with other countries.

"With tremendous efforts, China will move towards the 2030 goal step-by-step steadfastly," Li said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying also said on Thursday in Beijing that China will continue to fulfill its Paris pledges "no matter what stances others take".

Neither Li nor Hua mentioned the US specifically.

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky supported Trump's move. "One of the reasons President Trump was elected is he promised to defend American workers and American jobs," Paul told CNN's Jake Tapper.

California's Jerry Brown, New York's Andrew Cuomo and Washington state's Jay Inslee urged other states to join their Climate Alliance.

Brown, who is scheduled to start his visit to China on Friday, said on Thursday he would discuss merging carbon trading markets in his state and China.

"I want people in China to know that the people in America are enthusiastically working to de-carbonize," he told China Daily on Wendesday.

The Paris Agreement sets a target of holding the global average rise in temperature below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, and preferably below 1.5 degrees.

Agence France Press contributed to this story.

US quits pact; reaction mounts

(China Daily USA 06/02/2017 page1)

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