As Bloomberg reports, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said Wednesday that it was Republican U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush ― not the Chinese ― who started the conversation about global warming.
“If you look at the history of climate change negotiations, actually it was initiated by the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] with the support of the Republicans during the Reagan and senior Bush administration during the late 1980s,” Zhenmin reportedly told reporters gathered at United Nations talks in Morocco.
During a presidential debate in September, Trump snapped at Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton after she criticized him for calling climate change a hoax, saying “I did not say that.”
Like the claim itself, Trump’s response to Clinton was nonsense.
Trump pledged in May to pull the U.S. out of the historic Paris climate agreement ― a promise that didn’t sit well with hundreds of the world’s leading scientists, including famed physicist Stephen Hawking.
Trump has also said he would cut all federal spending for climate change research, cleaner technologies and aid for communities already threatened by climate impacts. He has turned to climate change denier Myron Ebell and fossil fuel lobbyist Mike McKenna to help with transition work at the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy.
Zhenmin said he hopes Trump’s administration will continue to support U.S. efforts to curb carbon emissions, Bloomberg reported. China, he said, will continue to fight climate change “whatever the circumstances.”
In September, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping fortified commitments to reduce carbon emissions by formally joining the Paris agreement. The leaders of the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases pledged a “continued bilateral climate cooperation.”
“Of course we’re still expecting developed countries, including the United States, will continue to take the lead on mitigating climate change,” Zhenmin said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also spoke at the U.N. conference Wednesday about the looming Trump presidency.
“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, according to Reuters.
“At some point, even the strongest skeptic has to acknowledge that something disturbing is happening.”
Here are a few of the things Trump has said about climate change in recent years: