The day after President Donald Trump signed an executive order making it “virtually impossible” for the U.S. to live up to its commitments to the Paris Climate Accord, China has doubled down on its commitment to combat climate change.
No matter how other countries’ policies on climate change, as a responsible large developing country China’s resolve, aims and policy moves in dealing with climate change will not change,” said Lu Kang, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, on Wednesday.
“We still uphold that all sides should move with the times, grasp the opportunities, fulfill their promises and earnestly take proactive steps to jointly push the enforcement of (the Paris) agreement,” he added during a press briefing.
Kang was responding directly to Donald Trump’s signing of an executive order on Tuesday gutting key environmental policies adopted by the & Obama administration in its attempts to live up to the historic 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Agreed to by 195 countries, the accord attempts to limit overall global temperature increases to “well below” the 2 degrees& Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Despite criticism of the agreement by leading climate justice advocates — who say the accord cannot live up to its stated goals because country targets are non-legally binding — it still represents what many feel is the last possible means to avoid catastrophic climate change.
While Trump has not yet officially pulled out of the agreement — something he promised repeatedly during his election campaign — his order to reduce limits on coal production and review easing limits on coal-fired electricity plants will “make it virtually impossible” for the U.S. to live up to its Paris commitments, according to Bob Ward, a climate specialist at the London School of Economics.
Many have noted that despite Trump’s claim that his slashing of environmental regulations will bring back jobs to former coal mining regions in the U.S., even ardent Trump supporters suggest the coal industry can no longer compete with the growing renewable energy sector.
Robert Murray, the CEO of the largest coal mine company in the U.S. and a prominent Trump backer warned that even with the new executive order, “He can’t bring (the coal jobs) back.”