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Asean & Global Updates
POSTED | 17:21 PM | 01-06-2017

China, Europe take lead on climate as world waits on Trump

China and Europe took the lead on Thursday (June 1, 2017) on forging on with the Paris climate accord, as fears grew US President Donald Trump would pull Washington out of the landmark deal, AFP reported.

After a day of rumours about the Republican leader’s plans, with some aides reportedly saying a withdrawal was likely and others saying no decision had been taken, Trump said he was ready to make his stance known.

“I will be announcing my decision on Paris Accord, Thursday at 3:00 P.M. The White House Rose Garden. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” the US leader said in a tweet, punctuating the post with his campaign slogan.

Hours ahead of his 1900 GMT announcement, the world’s biggest carbon emitter China pledged to stay the course on implementing the 2015 accord.

Premier Li Keqiang said it was in China’s own interest to do so, and urged other countries to do likewise.

“China will continue to implement promises made in the Paris Agreement, to move towards the 2030 goal step by step steadfastly,” Li said in a Berlin joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
 
“But of course, we also hope to do this in cooperation with others,” added Li, as Merkel hailed China’s pledge.

China has been investing billions in clean energy infrastructure, as its leaders battle to clear up the notorious choking pollution enveloping its biggest cities, including Beijing.

Li, who was due to travel to Brussels for a summit with the European Union later on Thursday, was expected to stress the same message there.

China and the US are responsible for some 40 percent of the world’s emissions and experts have warned that it is vital for both to remain in the Paris agreement if it is to have any chance of succeeding.

The leader of Asia’s other behemoth, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had said on Tuesday, also in Berlin, that failing to act on climate change would be “morally criminal.”
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Trump raised alarm bells when he refused to sign up to a pledge on the deal at last week’s G7 meeting in Italy.

Merkel on Saturday labelled the result of the “six against one” discussion “very difficult, not to say very unsatisfactory.”

With media reports swirling that Trump had decided to pull Washington out of the accord, America’s international allies and Trump’s domestic opponents have lashed out at the billionaire.

The White House did not confirm those reports, and it was unclear whether Trump would fully scrap US participation, merely water down US emissions objectives -- or surprise everyone with a decision to follow the status quo.

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