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Scholars: Global climate action ‘irreversible’

Author  :  WANG XIAOZHEN     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2017-06-13

On June 1, US President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, weakening global efforts to combat climate change and prompting widespread criticism from allies and business leaders.

The United States will join Syria and Nicaragua as the only nations to reject the 2015 global pact. Trump said the Paris accord is an example of an international deal that has hurt the US economy and that he was fulfilling his “America First” campaign pledge to help American workers.

“We’re getting out, but we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair,” Trump said. “If we can, that’s great, and if we can’t, that’s fine.”

“The decision by the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change is a major disappointment for global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote international security,” according to a statement read by the spokesperson of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

But the secretary-general remains confident that all other parties to the Paris Agreement will continue to demonstrate vision and leadership, and scholars from China and United States are also still optimistic about opportunities to further cooperate to address climate change.

At an earlier seminar on ChinaUS Relations and Cooperation in the New Age of Global Climate Governance hosted in Beijing, scholars stressed that global climate action is irreversible in spite of uncertainties caused by Trump’s new climate policy.

The signing and accession process of the Paris climate agreement reflected the global consensus and strong will to tackle climate change, said He Jiankun, deputy director of China’s National Climate Change Experts Committee, at the seminar. China and the United States played vital roles and their further cooperation to implement the agreement can also be expected by other parties, He said, adding China will continue to work with all parties concerned to promote the implementation of the Paris deal.

The global trend of energy technology innovation and energy system reform trend will continue to accelerate. The low-carbon growth path implied by the Paris climate target has become the global trend, He added.

Manish Bapna, executive vicepresident of the World Resources Institute, said there are still many uncertainties about Trump’s climate and energy policies, but the US-China Joint Statement on Climate Change reached earlier is of great significance for global governance to address climate change and many issues still require China and the United States to work together to solve.

The seminar was hosted by the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy, the Tsinghua Berkeley Joint Research Center on Energy and Climate Change and the World Resources Institute on May 24 at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Editor: Yu Hui

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