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US climate envoy: World moving forward with or without US

Published 14/11/2016

State Department special envoy for climate change, Jonathan Pershing, at the COP22 conference in Morocco (AP)
State Department special envoy for climate change, Jonathan Pershing, at the COP22 conference in Morocco (AP)

China and other countries will stay committed to the Paris Agreement on climate change, irrespective of what the next US administration decides to do, the outgoing US climate envoy has said.

Jonathan Pershing told reporters at UN climate talks in Morocco he does not know what President-elect Donald Trump's "outlook" on climate policy will be. But Mr Pershing said his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, told him that China intends to move ahead regardless.

"Of course they are going to move forward," he said. "I'm hearing the same from the Europeans. I'm hearing the same from the Brazilians. I'm hearing the same from Mexico, and from Canada, and from smaller nations like Costa Rica and from Colombia."

Mr Trump has called global warming a "hoax" on social media and promised during his campaign to "cancel" the Paris deal adopted last year. But many countries are hoping he will change his mind once in office.

"It is in the interest of the United States to deliver clean energy policies," said European Union climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete.

Mr Canete said he did not want to speculate on "worst-case scenarios" such as the US withdrawing from the Paris Agreement - the first in which all countries have agreed to take action on climate change.

"I prefer to be an optimist," Mr Canete said.

He dismissed a proposal by former French president and current presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy for a carbon tax on American goods imported to the EU if the US withdraws from the climate change deal.

"The European Commission is not thinking of making a proposal on that issue," Mr Canete said.

AP

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