Marrakesh: China has hit back at US President-elect Donald Trump over his accusation that climate change is a Chinese hoax, saying that it was the Republican's own party that initiated global warming negotiations. Trump in 2012 infamously claimed China had created the concept of climate change to make America's manufacturing sector less competitive, dubbing the global phenomenon "bulls**t" and "non-existent."
During international climate change talks in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh yesterday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin reminded reporters that climate change negotiations began with the UN's International Panel for Climate Change in the 1980s, supported by the US Republican-led administrations under Ronald Reagan and George H W Bush.
It was the European Union (EU) and the US who brought full climate change awareness to China, he said, CNN reported. Liu reiterated that climate change was not a hoax and that it was possible for Republicans to continue to support the process of addressing it.
The comments are something of a slap in the face to Trump, who painted China as an enemy of America, claiming the Asian powerhouse was "taking our jobs and taking our money."
US Secretary of State John Kerry tried to reassure delegates on Washington's stance on climate change. "I know the election has left some uncertainty about the future. I can't speculate about what policies the President-elect will pursue, but I've learned that some issues look a little bit different when you're in office compared to campaign. Climate change should not be a partisan issue in the first place," he said in Marrakesh.
"No one has a right to make decisions that affect billions based solely on ideology or without proper input," he said. China and the US are the world's biggest emitters of greenhouse gases that are causing the earth's temperatures to rise, according to UN data.
The two powers were not signatories to the Kyoto protocol that obliged developed nations to cut emissions by a certain percentage between the years 2005 and 2020.
The US refused to sign the protocol and any other such binding agreement unless China was included. The two nations did, however, sign the Paris agreement in climate change talks last year, which involves both developed and developing countries. The deal aims to keep the world's rise in temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to create a carbon-neutral world by 2100.
Trump has said he plans to dump the agreement, which he described as a "bad deal." Scientists say a 2-degree Celsius rise would be dangerous for the planet.