Chinese officials have reaffirmed the country's determination to continue working on climate change despite climate skeptic Donald Trump's win in the U.S. presidential election.
The U.S. President-elect has questioned climate change and vowed to pull out of the landmark Paris Agreement, bringing uncertainties to the future climate agenda of the United States. and the world as a whole. As the United States and China are believed to be the leading forces in the global green process, China's response has been closely watched at the ongoing UN climate change conference in Marrakech, Morocco.
Gou Haibo, deputy chief of the Chinese delegation to the climate conference, said on November 9 that China would continue its effort in combating climate change despite the results of the U.S. presidential election. Two days later, two veteran Chinese negotiators reaffirmed the country's resolve in combating climate change.
"We have to wait and see whether the new U.S. Government will withdraw from the Paris Agreement, but no matter what happens in the new government of the United States, I think China will continue our action and will continue participating in the global multilateral process." Chen Zhihua, an official of the Department of Climate Change of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told a group of Chinese and foreign journalists on November 11.
Chen also said that even if the United States withdraws from the Paris Agreement, "the communication and cooperation with the U.S. Government will continue."
Gu Zihua, an official from the Department of Treaty and Law under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emphasized that as the Paris Agreement has already come into force, it would take four years for the United States to formally pull out of the Paris Agreement. He said that it would be "politically problematic" if the United States decided to withdraw from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is the internationally recognized climate change framework. He also emphasized that there are disparities between "campaign policies" and "real policies" in the United States, suggesting that everyone should "wait and see."
Asked whether China would assume the top leadership role in the global transition to a low-carbon economy, Chen said that the leadership role is defined by the UNFCCC and that developed countries are legally bound to contribute more to the mitigation work in climate change and provide financial and technological support to developing countries.
But Chen also said that China has made a lot of effort in combating climate change and that the country is one of the earliest in the world to have launched a national climate change program. The country has also set ambitious carbon reduction targets, he added.
Gu Zihua of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs added that China has not set its sights on asserting the top leadership position in global green action, but is more keen on making its own contribution as well as encouraging other countries to take active actions in the global climate change agenda.
(China.org.cn November 14, 2016)