China will maintain efforts against climate change regardless of Trump’s policies

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2016/11/25 0:13:39

US President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement, and when it comes to combating climate change, many are left wondering if he'll treat the Paris Agreement on climate change in a similar fashion.

Trump, who is not a believer in "man-made climate change," told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" earlier in 2016 that climate change was "just a very, very expensive form of tax."

While Trump may not be able to fulfill his campaign promise to pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement in the short term, the country may rather just carry out its obligations in an extremely passive manner under Trump's presidency.

With a possible shift in regards to climate change, Washington might perhaps end up simply watching from the sidelines as China plays a much stronger leadership role in the international effort against climate change. China's top legislature in September ratified the Paris Agreement, giving a strong push to the fight against global warming.

As part of the deal, China has agreed to increase its share of non-fossil fuels to 20 percent of its primary energy consumption by 2030. In order to meet this target, efforts have been ramped-up in Chinese cities to phase out or transform coal-fired boilers for green energy sources in a bid to clean up polluted air. The project in Beijing alone is likely to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide by about 16,000 tons and nitrogen oxide by about 5,000 tons every year.

China's pledge reflects the commitments it has made over the past several years as part of declarations jointly issued with the US. China and the US are the world's two largest economies and also the biggest carbon emitters. Although there is a possibility that the US may betray its words, China will unswervingly keep its promise and seek to play a greater role in global affairs.

China's transition to a green economy is still not fast enough, but it has achieved some results. According to media reports, coal use in China peaked in 2014, suggesting the end of coal-fired growth in the world's second-largest economy. While the higher costs for non-fossil fuels may result in higher production costs for Chinese firms, China is likely to strive to ease any adverse effects on the economy by pushing forward with technical innovation.

The US may encounter a credibility crisis if it announces its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Hopefully Washington will not retreat. Trump in recent days softened his stance on global warming, and said on Tuesday during an interview with the New York Times that he would "have an open mind" in deciding whether or not to pull out of the Paris climate agreement. This is certainly a good sign.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


blog comments powered by Disqus