The world reacted with dismay and anger as President Donald Trump issued an executive order Tuesday that dismantled critical U.S. climate policies, betraying the country’s international climate commitments.
While world leaders, scientists, and policy makers expressed outrage and skepticism about the president’s move, they also vowed to step up and increase climate change mitigation in the absence of U.S. leadership.
“If ‘America First’ means you want to lead, then you can’t turn the clock back and rely on a century-old technology. You’re missing the train,” Thomas Stocker, a climate scientist at the University of Bern, Switzerland, told the New York Times about Trump’s push to reinvigorate the coal industry.
“Whoever tries to change into reverse gear is only going to harm themselves when it comes to international competitiveness,” German environment minister Barbara Hendricks told the Times.
“No matter how other countries’ policies on climate change change, as a responsible large developing country, China’s resolve, aims and policy moves in dealing with climate change will not change,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a daily news briefing, according to Reuters.
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“We are willing to work with the international community to strengthen dialogue and cooperation, to join hands to promote the process of tackling climate change to jointly promote green, low carbon sustainable development for the whole world, to create an even better future for the next generation,” Lu continued.
Indeed, in recent years China has emerged as a leader in international climate talks, galvanized by public outrage over the toxic smog choking its urban centers. As a result, the country is moving away from coal and investing billions in renewable energy.
“The continued leadership of the E.U., China, and many other major economies is now more important than ever. When it comes to climate and the global clean energy transition, there cannot be vacuums, there can only be drivers, and we are committed to driving this agenda forward,” said Miguel Arias Cañete, the European Union’s climate action commissioner, according to the Guardian.
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