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China was the climate champion of Paris. Now it’s doing a complete U-turn

7 6 360
12.12.2018

In 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping were lauded as world saviours for endorsing the UN Paris agreement “to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low-carbon future.” As the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China’s leadership was especially valued, and lauded, even though the Paris agreement was non-binding and committed China to nothing.

Then Donald Trump was elected president of the United States and withdrew the U.S. from the Paris agreement. China and its Communist Party leader Xi were happily thrust into a leadership position.

It didn’t last long. As the nations of the world congregate in Katowice, Poland for the 24th Conference of the Parties climate-change meeting (COP24), China is reeling from Trump’s trade sanctions. Xi is focused now on his need to maintain economic growth at home. And the U.S. and EU have largely abandoned a Green Climate Fund that would have redistributed US$100-billion a year from developed countries to developing countries. That was the lucre that made climate change interesting to China and other Third World countries. So China no longer has an economic incentive to participate in what it saw as the Paris climate-change........

© Financial Post