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Beijing sticks with accord on warming

Updated: Jun 2,2017 6:40 AM     China Daily

China will stick to its commitment made in the Paris Agreement and will join forces with other parties to combat climate change, Premier Li Keqiang said on June 1.

“China is one of the first countries to ratify the Paris pact, and we will stick to the commitment for sure,” Li said in Berlin at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“As a big developing country, China will shoulder its responsibility,” he added.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying also said on June 1 in Beijing that China will continue to fulfill its Paris pledges “no matter what stances others take”.

Although neither Li nor Hua mentioned the United States specifically, their comments came as the world awaited word from US President Donald Trump, who planned to announce whether the nation is pulling out of the Paris Agreement.

Trump’s recent tweets suggested that the US might abandon the historic accord.

Chai Qimin, an expert at the National Center for Climate Change Strategy at the National Development and Reform Commission, said Li’s comments are in line with China’s consistent stance on combating climate change.

Chai cited President Xi Jinping’s words at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this year.

Xi called for worldwide efforts to combat the global challenge.

“These comments sent the message that China hopes the agreement, sealed by 194 parties worldwide, will stay on the right track and move forward,” he said.

“China has emphasized the importance of cooperation to address the challenge,” he said. “It does not help to blame a single country.”

Chai added there is no need to worry about China’s progress on keeping its promises, but if one of the world’s two largest carbon emitters decides to withdraw, it will drag down the pace of improvements and make it difficult to address the issue.

China aims by 2030 to cut its carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 60 to 65 percent from 2005 levels. It also intends to have reached the peak of its carbon emissions by 2030.

On 2015, the US committed in the Paris Agreement to reduce its emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.

Bai Yunwen, a climate researcher at the Chinese NGO Greenovation Hub, said China does not face much challenge if the United States decides to quit, because its efforts fit into our own needs to see a green transformation.

“China will only benefit from extending our friendship circle through technology and information exchanges with economies actively participating in the pact, such as the European Union,” she said.

Leaders are expected to adopt a joint statement and a separate statement on climate change and clean energy after the 19th China-EU leaders’ meeting ends on June 2, according to a news release by the European Council.