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US begins Paris climate accord exit


Source: China Daily    Published: 2019-11-6

Washington's isolation from global efforts to battle warming condemned

The United States started the process of pulling out from the Paris Agreement on Monday, the first formal step in what will take a year to exit the global pact to fight climate change. Its actions will undermine the international solidarity in coping with the threat from global warming, analysts said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that he had filed a formal notice to the United Nations, starting the process.

In a statement, Pompeo said the accord would have imposed intolerable burdens on the US economy, echoing US President Donald Trump's long-held view that the agreement would cripple growth and intrude on US sovereignty.

"In international climate discussions, we will continue to offer a realistic and pragmatic model - backed by a record of real-world results - showing innovation and open markets lead to greater prosperity, fewer emissions and more secure sources of energy," Pompeo said.

Nearly 200 countries have signed the climate deal, with each country setting a target to curb emissions that cause climate change. Once it exits, the US - the top historic greenhouse gas emitter and leading oil and gas producer - will become the only country outside the accord, Reuters said.

UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said that the world body will work out procedural details for what happens next.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Tuesday that climate change is a common challenge to all mankind, and all members of the international community should join hands in cooperation and make their own contribution to a solution. "We felt regret that the US started the formal process to exit from the Paris Agreement," Geng said.

He said China hopes the US can become more responsible and make more of a contribution to pushing forward with multilateral cooperation, instead of bringing more negative factors.

As the largest developing country, China firmly upholds multilateralism, supports the Paris Agreement, actively undertakes international responsibilities in accordance with its own development stage and conditions, and adopts practical policies and actions to address climate change, he said.

Geng said China will continue in all its efforts to fight climate change, actively participate in related multilateral processes, and firmly safeguard the global governance process.

Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, a Beijing-based environmental NGO, said that the coming US exit from the pact is "a huge setback" in the global efforts to fight climate change.

"While the world is working together to face the challenges of climate change, the US' exit is shortsighted and irresponsible. This could undermine the global solidarity in coping with climate change, bring negative influences to some other countries' resolutions to combat climate change and give them an excuse not to act," he said.

Diao Daming, an associate professor of international relations at Renmin University of China, said Washington's withdrawal would damage the United States' credibility and leadership globally. 

"Over the past two years, there have been various polls showing that the US credibility globally is decreasing, and the exit from the Paris Agreement will surely aggravate the process," he said. 

He said that the need to combat climate change is founded on an international consensus and is backed by science. But the common sense that underpins this understanding has been distorted by factional squabbling within the US, which resulted in "a decision that goes against the mainstream international values", Diao said. 

The US withdrawal from the agreement will not be completed until Nov 4, 2020, the day after the presidential election. If a Democrat wins the White House, the US could re-enter the agreement after a 30-day waiting period.

Against this backdrop, whether the US will ultimately exit the pact is not yet settled, Diao added. 

Diao Daming is a research fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

Key Words: Major power relations   US   RDCY   Diao Daming  

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