China will honour its commitments on climate change, its premier has said, as the US appears poised to pull out of a key deal.
Speaking on a visit to Germany, Premier Li Keqiang said fighting climate change was in China’s own interest. China was counting on other countries to follow its example, Mr Li said.
US President Donald Trump is due to announce his decision on the 2015 Paris agreement later. Some reports in the US suggest he will withdraw.
“China will continue to implement the promises made in the Paris accord. But of course we also hope to do this with the co-operation of others,” Mr Li said.
As a big developing country, China had an “international responsibility” to try to prevent climate change, he added. Chinese and EU leaders are set to agree a joint statement on the Paris climate agreement, saying it is “an imperative more important than ever”.
The joint statement says rising temperatures affect national security and increase “social and political fragility”, while the transition to clean energy creates jobs and economic growth.
Chinese media are critical of Trump’s hint that the US will leave the Paris agreement. Nationalist newspaper Global Times said it would “set a bad example”, reveal the US as “selfish and irresponsible” and “weaken US leadership”.
However, state TV channels downplayed the significance, with Shanghai-based Dragon TV saying Mr Trump “absolutely wasn’t speaking formally”. grey line Russia also said it would stick to its climate commitments, but said the Paris agreement would be affected by a US pullout.
“It goes without saying that the effectiveness of this convention is likely to be reduced without its key participants,” a Kremlin spokesman said.
Meanwhile British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he was “anxious” at the prospect of a US withdrawal but said he believed Mr Trump was “genuinely thinking about the issue”. Some of the biggest gains in tackling carbon emissions in the US had been made at state level rather than federal level, he added.
Mr Trump’s refusal to commit to the Paris agreement caused frustration at a G7 meeting last week, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel describing the discussion as “difficult, not to say dissatisfying”.
China overtook the US as the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2007.—Agencies