China warns of 'global consensus' on tackling climate change

President Donald Trump with Pope Francis on May 24 at the Vatican where the Pontiff urged his guest to keep America
Trump to announce if U.S. will stay in Paris climate deal
Author

02 June, 2017

Trump tweeted overnight that he would announce a final decision on whether the USA will withdraw from the agreement Thursday at 3 p.m. Washington time (9 p.m.in Brussels). Senior adviser Jared Kushner generally thinks the deal is bad but would like to find a way to see if USA emissions targets can be changed.

California has also previously said it would help pick up the slack for any backdowns by the USA president on climate change.

The decision will put the United States in league with Syria and Nicaragua as the world's only non-participants in the Paris Climate Agreement. 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. For him, a withdrawal might be a way of making good on his pledge to put "America First", ahead of worldwide obligations negotiated by his predecessors.

Without mentioning the United States specifically, amid reports President Donald Trump is poised to announce his country will withdraw from the agreement, he said China has been "actively promoting the Paris agreement and we were one of the first countries to ratify the Paris agreement". But Trump's statement was clear and direct.

A landmark agreement, ratified by 147 parties or countries, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change was aimed at cutting emissions and keeping global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The top Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said a decision to withdraw would be "a stunning abdication of American leadership and a grave threat to our planet's future".

"As other countries invest in advanced technologies and move forward with the Paris Agreement, we believe the United States can best exercise global leadership and advance USA interests by remaining a full partner in this vital global effort", the letter read.

It could have sweeping implications for the deal, which relies heavily on the commitment of big polluter nations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

The U.S.is the second worst emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, according to the European Commission's emissions database, behind only China. Under the pact, the United States committed to reducing its emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.

Environmental groups criticized the planned withdrawal.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and 21 other Republican sent President Trump a letter last week urging him to follow through on his campaign pledge to pull out of the climate accord. "AGAIN!" the USA leader said in a tweet late Wednesday, punctuating the post with his populist campaign slogan.

The chief executives of dozens of companies have made last-minute appeals to Trump. Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy Corp [MUYEY.UL], an Ohio-based coal company and major Trump campaign donor, urged Trump to withdraw. "I think there will (even) be an effort on the part of many USA states and localities to help the US meet its stated voluntary goal anyway", Schlosberg said.

The Vatican, which under Pope Francis' insistence has strongly backed the Paris accord, would see a USA exit as a "a huge slap in the face", a senior Vatican official said on Thursday.

China overtook the United States as the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2007. That promise helped rally supporters sharing his skepticism of global efforts to police US carbon emissions.

Trump claimed before taking office that climate change was a "hoax" created by the Chinese to hurt the USA economy.

China will honour its commitments on climate change, its premier has said, as the United States appears poised to pull out of a key deal. He also had to navigate a split among his advisers on the issue. Yesterday, the Axios news website reported that Trump has chose to pull out of the agreement, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

Trump's influential daughter Ivanka Trump's preference is to stay, but she has made it a priority to establish a review process so her father would hear from all sides, said a senior administration official.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Britain would continue to press the U.S.to reduce unsafe emissions even if Trump pulls out.

Mr Musk's move, announced on Twitter, could deepen the rift between the tech world and the Trump administration, which have been at odds over immigration and other issues.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang says fighting climate change is a "global consensus" and an "international responsibility".


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