China says it’s sticking to its climate pledges
Pledge comes after Trump eased curbs on coal and oil use.
China promised Wednesday to stick to its climate commitments after President Donald Trump eased U.S. curbs on coal and oil use, opening the way for Beijing to assert itself as a leader in environmental policy.
China is the No. 1 emitter of climate-changing greenhouse gases but also the top investor in solar, wind and other renewable energy. It has promised to cap coal use and rein in growth of carbon dioxide emissions.
“As a responsible developing country, China’s plan, determination and policy to tackle climate change is resolute,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.
Beijing’s collaboration on climate with Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, had been seen as a bright spot in a bilateral relationship with numerous strains. But Trump has called climate change a hoax created by China and promised to unwind Obama’s measures to curb global warming.
Asked about Trump’s order at a news briefing, Lu didn’t mention the United States or Trump but said Beijing was committed to carrying out its pledges under the Paris climate agreement negotiated in 2015.
Signed by 170 countries, the agreement calls for holding global temperature increases to no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in hopes of preventing sea level rise and environmental damage.
All signers should “fulfill their pledges and implement the agreement with positive actions,” Lu said.
“We are w illing to strengthen dialogue and cooperation with the international community to advance the global process of climate governance and promote the green, low-carbon and sus- tainable development so as to build a better future for next generations,” he said.
China long resisted binding emissions limits, citing its economic development needs. Its about-face began in 2014 when President Xi Jinping, in a joint declaration with Obama, set a 2030 deadline for emissions to stop rising.
Despite the lack of a formal commitment, China already is making faster progress than most countries due to official efforts to reduce reli- ance on steel production and other heavy industry and to promote technology and consumer spending.
China has spent heavily on solar, wind and hydro power to clean up smog- choked cities and curb surg- ing reliance on imported oil and gas. Researchers say that means carbon dioxide emissions are likely to peak before 2025, well ahead of the official target.
China’s 2015 spending of $103 billion was more than double the U.S. level of $44 billion, according to the U.N. Environment Program. China leads the world in wind and hydro generating capacity and is No. 2 behind Germany in solar.
Last year, Chinese coal consumption fell 4.7 per- cent, its third annual decline, according to offi- cial data. Coal’s share of total energy consumption fell to 62 percent from 2015’s 64 percent.
In a report last week, the environmental groups CoalS- warm, the Sierra Club and Greenpeace said an unexpectedly sharp decline in the number of new coal-fired power plants being built in China and India improved chances that climate targets could be met.
‘As a responsible developing country, China’s plan, determination and policy to tackle climate change is resolute.’ Lu Kang Foreign ministry spokesman
Chinese women wear masks to protect themselves from air pollution amid dense smog in Beijing in December. China’s collaboration on climate with former President Barack Obama had been seen as a bright spot in the bilateral relationship. But President Donald Trump has called climate change a hoax created by China.