Chinese officials are taking Donald Trump to task over the U.S. President-elect’s past claims that China invented the concept of global warming to hurt the American manufacturing sector.
Speaking at the Marrakech Climate Change Conference in Morocco, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin pointed out that climate change negotiations were initiated not by China, but by U.S. presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush in the 1980s, Bloomberg reports.
Trump tweeted his theory back in 2012, although he denied during the first presidential debate with Democrat rival Hillary Clinton that he ever made such a remark.
The Marrakech conference is the first U.N. climate change summit since the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change came into force on Nov. 4. But the election of Trump, who has previously pledged to void American commitments to the agreement, cast a shadow of uncertainty over proceedings.
“If you look at the history of climate change negotiations, actually it was initiated by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) with the support of the Republicans during the Reagan and senior Bush administration during the late 1980s,” Liu said.
“As the largest developed economy in the world, U.S. support is essential,” he told reporters. “We have to expect they will take a smart and wise decision.”
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who played a key role in securing the Paris agreement, suggested in his speech that he remained hopeful that Trump wouldn’t follow through on his campaign promise to scale back U.S. commitments to climate change measures, according to Reuters.
“While I can’t stand here and speculate about what policies our president-elect will pursue, I will tell you this: In the time that I have spent in public life, one of the things I’ve learned is that some issues look a little bit different when you’re actually in office compared to when you’re on the campaign trail,” Kerry said.
“2016 is going to be the warmest year of all. Every month so far has broken a record,” he added.
“At some point, even the strongest skeptic has to acknowledge that something disturbing is happening.”
With files from the Associated Press