China vows to commit to Paris climate accord

Evrard Martin
Juin 3, 2017

As China emerges as Europe's unlikely global partner on areas from free trade to security, Premier Li Keqiang will meet top European Union officials at a summit in Brussels that will also address North Korea's missile tests and global steel overcapacity.

Wang Yiwei, director of the Center for European Studies at Renmin University of China, said the meeting came right after the EU and the United States were in conflict on issues from trade to climate change at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and G7 summits, which were held last week.

As we reported in March 2016, Chinese emissions may have actually peaked in 2014, and if those emissions didn't peak in 2014, researchers say, they definitely will by 2025, years ahead of China's official 2030 goal. In February, China announced that it would spent $361 billion over the next couple of years to create 13 million green jobs, according to the country's National Energy Administration.

Germany supports an open global trading system, said the president, adding that he apprieciates China's responsible position on combating climate change.

China and the European Union will seek on Friday to save an worldwide pact against climate change that U.S. President Donald Trump appears to be set to pull out of.

Without mentioning the USA specifically, Mr Li said that "China in recent years has stayed true to its commitment", and pointed out that it was one of the first countries to ratify the 2015 Paris Agreement.

If the USA decides to pull out, it will join Syria and Nicaragua as the only two countries not participating in the accord.

But some in China are wary of the newfound focus on China to lead the world in solving a problem its leaders have been slow to address.

However, China's state-media dismissed speculation about the Communist giant alone assuming the leadership mantle.

"China will not alter its commitments because of Trump, or follow him in quitting".

Other European leaders issued more explicit appeals to the USA government not to abandon worldwide measures against climate change.

While much of the world is now looking to China, the country's leaders may choose to lead in a radically different style.

Trump's presumed plan to follow through on an election campaign pledge to bolt from the Paris deal, agreed on by almost 200 countries, made China more important, he added.

The US exit from the Paris agreement also gives ammunition to detractors within the Chinese government who want to slow down the pace of shutting down polluting industries, particularly local governments, Wang said.

The president's view of China is outdated.

But China's leaders have a distinctly different style. "We believe our political foundations make an important contribution and I am pleased that all our bureaus in China can be registered and hope they can resume work", she said.

"It's not a comfortable position for China to press other countries for more ambitious targets", Wang said.

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