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China to Trump: Why are you blaming us for climate change?

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At the climate conference in Marrakech, Morocco

Maldives Battles With Rising Sea Levels
The Maldives are particularly threatened by rising sea levels due to human-made climate change
Photo by Aishath Adam/Getty Images

In 2012, Donald Trump tweeted that climate change was a concept invented by China to make US businesses less competitive. Four years later, Trump was elected president of the United States — and so China decided to address the preposterous claim, telling the president-elect that China didn’t concoct the “global warming hoax.”

China’s vice foreign minister Liu Zhenmin told reporters today that China can’t be blamed because Trump’s Republican predecessors Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush started climate negotiations in the 1980s — before China knew that such negotiations were taking place, according to Bloomberg. So the Chinese minister seems to be asking Trump: if previous US presidents in your party have acknowledged climate change and decided to address it, why are you blaming China?

Liu was in Marrakech, Morocco, where officials from almost 200 countries are at a climate conference discussing the implementation of the Paris climate agreement. He was referring to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was formed by the United Nations in the 1980s to address human-made climate change. The IPCC was supported by both Republican presidents Regan and Bush senior.

At the conference, US Secretary of State John Kerry tried to quell anxieties regarding the US’s commitments to the Paris deal, according to Reuters. (The US is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gasses after China.)

"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.

Trump has said that he would pull the US out of the Paris deal. His stances over climate change have also left many climate scientists worried about what his election would mean for research and the future of the country. For its part, China said it will keep adhering to the agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions and urged Trump to reconsider his stances, according to Reuters.

"As the largest developed economy in the world, US support is essential,” Liu said. “We have to expect they will take a smart and wise decision.”