US climate commitments have not changed

US climate commitments have not changed

Elisa Maria Giannetto
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After Trump's announcement about leaving the Paris accords, Energy Secretary Rick Perry explains to the world that the US will not reverse its climate commitments. And in the meantime they are trying to get closer to China to strengthen leadership on environmental issues

The United States will strive to tackle environmental issues and promote clean energy, albeit outside the Paris climate agreement. This was reiterated several times during the week by US Energy Secretary Rick Perry, on an official visit first to Japan and subsequently to China. He said it in Tokyo at the meeting with his Japanese counterpart, Hiroshige Seko, with the words: "We are not backtracking, and we have not created a vacuum." And he stressed it in Beijing at the table with energy ministers, where he urged his colleagues to consider the benefits of natural gas as an equally effective energy source in leading the fight against climate change. In his speech, he did not fail to mention the technological progress that is making renewable sources more competitive and accessible to all. The US position on energy issues has probably been clear since Trump officially entered the White House; while Perry's nomination has not left much space for many to hope for a continuation of his predecessor's line. But what is even less clear is the role that China will play in the field of environmental issues: First deployed with the European Union to face the US withdrawal, immediately afterwards ready to be courted by the United States. Before moving from Tokyo to Beijing, Rick Perry clearly expressed the hope that China would accept the challenge of combating air pollution: "It would be a good opportunity for them, because I was in Beijing, I was in Shanghai, I was in Shenzhen, and the air is not as enjoyable as in Tokyo." Of course it will not be easy for the most polluted nation in the world, which still largely depends on coal, to play the “part of leader” as the United States desires. But it is Beijing that is looking towards Trump in order not to end up isolated, especially after the US leaving the climate agreements.