China accuses Trump of 'selfishness' over climate change

Justin Carissimo
A bulldozer operates atop a coal mound at the CCI Energy Slones Branch Terminal June 3, 2014 in Shelbiana, Kentucky: Luke Sharrett/Getty

Chinese state media has called President Trump "selfish" over his plan to abolish environmental regulations enacted by the Obama administration. The Global Times, a state-run tabloid, criticised the commander-in-chief on Thursday for his plan to revamp the US coal industry.

China is the largest emitter of greenhouse gasses in the world with the US in second. But unlike the Trump administration, Chinese leaders vocally support the scientific consensus that climate change is a global threat that needs significant attention.

“Western opinion should continue to pressure the Trump administration on climate change. Washington’s political selfishness must be discouraged,” the new editorial reads.

“China will remain the world’s biggest developing country for a long time. How can it be expected to sacrifice its own development space for those developed western powerhouses?”

The editorial continued: “Washington is supposed to take the lead in the global fight against climate change but the Trump administration could be the first to ditch the agreement, which is disappointing.”

In the past, President Trump has threatened to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, pitting himself against China’s President Xi Jinping who has urged the White House to uphold the landmark deal.

“China is not the kind of leader in terms of climate change that will pull other countries along,” Lauri Myllyvirta, a senior Greenpeace campaigner in Beijing, told the Guardian.

“The Chinese government will only commit to targets it is very comfortable delivering and it needs to work with other major countries. China won’t strike out on its own.”