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EU and China pledge to enforce Paris deal

June 1, 2017

Chinese officials have pledged to hold up their end of the Paris climate change pact even if the United States pulls out. President Donald Trump says he'll announce his decision on the US' participation on Thursday.

Li Keqiang in Berlin mit Angela Merkel
Image: picture alliance/AP Photo/M.Sohn

Whatever Donald Trump decides on Thursday, EU and Chinese leaders say they will keep up their end of the Paris climate bargain.

"China will continue to implement promises made in the Paris agreement to move toward the 2030 goal step-by-step steadfastly," Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said at a press conference in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Read: Merkel says Germany and China must expand partnership in times of 'global uncertainty'

At the global climate talks in Paris in 2015, both China and the US - respectively, the world's No. 1 and 2 emitters - proved crucial to reaching an agreement to try to limit warming to an increase of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) by 2030, compared with preindustrial temperatures. However, during his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump argued against the deal, saying China had created a climate change "hoax" to hurt the US economically.

After experiencing first-hand Trump's view on climate change at last week's G7 talks, Merkel told an election rally in Bavaria that the EU "must take its fate into its own hands," citing the bloc's differences with the United States on climate change as evidence of divergent paths.

Read: USA leaving Paris Agreement could be breach of human rights

On Thursday, Martin Schulz, Merkel's main rival in 2017's German elections, also chimed in, saying that Germany would need to re-evaluate its business relationship with the United States should Trump pull the US out of the program.

And European Council President Donald Tusk took to Twitter, Trump's preferred medium, to communicate an EU-wide plea to his US-level counterpart: "Please don't change the [political] climate for the worse." 

Changing the climate

Since he took office on January 20, Trump's take on the global climate has alarmed many scientists. The president immediately began gutting Barack Obama's environmental policies, saying he would prefer to create more coal mining jobs even as industry analysts have argued that consumers seek renewable, cleaner sources of energy, such as solar, wind and other alternatives.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called on the US to follow through on its commitment. He didn't speculate as to what the UK would do should Trump pull out. "We're not there yet," Johnson told Sky News. "We continue to lobby the US at all levels to continue to take climate change extremely seriously."

Moscow also called on Trump to cooperate. "President Putin signed this convention in Paris," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters on Thursday. "Russia attaches great significance to it. At the same time, it goes without saying that the effectiveness of this convention is likely to be reduced without its key participants."

mkg/msh (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)