WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping announced plans to boost his country’s Paris climate accord target on Tuesday and called for a green revolution, just minutes after U.S. President Donald Trump blasted China for “rampant pollution.”
Addressing the U.N. General Assembly, Xi said China would achieve a peak in carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060, the first time the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide has pledged to end its net contribution to climate change.
“China will scale up its intended Nationally Determined Contributions (to the Paris agreement) by adopting more vigorous policies and measures,” Xi said, urging all countries to pursue a “green recovery of the world economy in the post-COVID era.”
Xi used the lectern to call for multilateral action on climate change, drawing a stark contrast with Trump, who blasted China on its environmental record and for causing the coronavirus pandemic, and referred to withdrawing the United States from the “one-sided Paris Climate Accord.”
Trump has referred to climate change as a “hoax,” and in 2017 pulled the United States out of the Paris accords laying out an international approach to global warming. Joe Biden, his Democratic presidential challenger and former vice president, has included climate change on his list of major crises facing the United States.
Trump, who has rolled back or pared down hundreds of environmental regulations, said the United States had reduced its carbon emissions by more than any country in the agreement.
“Those who attack America’s exceptional environmental record while ignoring China’s rampant pollution are not interested in the environment. They only want to punish America. And I will not stand for it,” Trump said.
China had been aiming to bring its total greenhouse gas emissions to a peak by “around 2030,” while the European Union has asked Beijing to bring the date forward to 2025.
Li Shuo, a veteran climate diplomacy expert at Greenpeace, said Xi’s climate pledge, minutes after Trump’s speech, was “clearly a bold and well calculated move.”
“It demonstrates Xi’s consistent interest in leveraging the climate agenda for geopolitical purposes,” he said.
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