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US exit from climate pact ‘selfish, hypocritic’

By Zhang Hui and Chi Jingyi (Global Times)    08:13, November 06, 2019

Formal withdrawal from Paris accord draws worldwide criticism

Amid criticism from the international community, Chinese Net users slammed the world's second-largest carbon emitter, the US, for "hypocrisy" and "selfishness" in walking away from its responsibility to solve the global climate crisis on Tuesday.

The US Trump administration said Monday it would begin formally withdrawing the US from the Paris climate accord and that it has submitted formal notification to the United Nations.

The withdrawal will take effect one year from delivery of the notification, CNN reported.

President Trump already announced his desire to withdraw citing an "unfair economic burden" on the US in June 2017.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang expressed regret over the US move at Tuesday's routine press conference.

"China hopes the US will take more responsibility and contribute more to the multilateral cooperation process instead of sending negative energy," Geng said.

In future, China will continue to actively participate in the multilateral process, keep close communication with all parities and work with the international community to promote comprehensive and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, Geng said.

On China's Twitter-like Weibo social media platform, the Chinese language hashtag of "US begins formal withdrawal from the Paris climate accord" was viewed nearly 200 million times as of press time.

Many Net users linked the US decision with Trump's campaign slogan "America First." Others joked the US would eventually quit the planet and move to the Moon or other planets.

"Is this US democracy and freedom?" posted one typical user. "Where is your spirit of contract and responsibility as a big power? It's purely US populism which the US only seeks its own interests and never cares whether it would put others at risk."

Since Trump's election, the US has quit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, UNESCO and other United Nations' organizations.

"Climate change concerns all human beings which no country or individual could stay out of. If other countries follow the US, the Earth will be destroyed just like what happened to its largest rainforest. Where should we live then?" posed another user with a crying face emoji.

The US is the world's second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases and its allies may follow suit, warned Yang Fuqiang, a senior advisor on climate and energy to the Beijing-based consultancy Natural Resources Defense Council.

Yang said the formal withdrawal of the US will destroy implementation of the Paris agreement and affect the global response.

If China and other major countries, especially those in Europe, firmly stick to the accord, then action on reduction of global emissions will not fall apart, Chinese experts said.

The combined economies of China and the EU are larger than the US economy, they noted.

The US break would not affect China's commitments to halt rising carbon dioxide emissions by around 2030, Yang said.

The Paris accord was signed by nearly 200 countries in 2016 to limit temperature rise and maintain sustainable development for human beings.

Some voices appealing China to be the world leader in global climate action have emerged since 2017, but climate change is a common challenge for all countries which needs multilateral cooperation and efforts, Wang Gengcheng, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Science Atmospheric Physics Institute, told the Global Times.

China has actively assumed international responsibility in line with its own development stage, Wang said.

"China has released domestic guidelines in responding to climate change since 2012 and has actively provided financial and technological aid to other developing countries through South-South climate cooperation," he said.

Chinese experts said that Beijing has actively participated in the intergovernmental negotiation process on climate change and played an important role in the adoption and enforcement of the Paris Agreement.

They predicted China will work on strengthening rules to ensure full implementation of the Paris Agreement as well as negotiations on climate funds at the next UN climate change conference scheduled for December in Madrid.

A study of NASA in February showed that China and India, the two most populous countries in the world, are leading the increase in greening of land and concludes the "effect comes mostly from ambitious tree-planting programs in China and intensive agriculture in both countries."

Trump's move was a worrying sign, Le Monde said in an editorial on Tuesday. The US was simply ignoring the rest of the world, the French newspaper concluded.

Japanese Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi said the US withdrawal was "very disappointing," the Japan Times reported on Tuesday.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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