* China says climate pledges under Paris Agreement unchanged
* EU says climate action will bring jobs, growth
* Trump starts undoing Obama climate goals in shift to coal
By Ben Blanchard and Alister Doyle
BEIJING/OSLO, March 29 Nations led by China and
the European Union rallied around a global plan to slow climate
change on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump began
undoing Obama-era plans for deep cuts in U.S. greenhouse gas
Trump's order on Tuesday, keeping a campaign promise to
bolster the U.S. coal industry, strikes at the heart of an
international Paris Agreement in 2015 to curb world temperatures
that hit record highs in 2016 for the third year in a row.
Many nations reacted to Trump's plan with dismay and
defiance, saying a vast investment shift from fossil fuels to
clean energy such as wind and solar power is underway with
benefits ranging from less air pollution to more jobs.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, whose government
cooperated closely with former U.S. President Barack Obama's
administration on climate change, said all countries should
"move with the times".
"No matter how other countries' policies on climate change,
as a responsible large developing country China's resolve, aims
and policy moves in dealing with climate change will not
change," he said.
European Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said: "We
see the Paris Agreement and the transition to a modern, more
innovative economy as the growth engine of job creation,
investment opportunities and economic prosperity."
Trump's main target is Obama's Clean Power Plan, which
required states to slash carbon emissions from power plants and
was key to the U.S. pledge under Paris to cut emissions by
between 26 and 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.
Trump did not say whether he would pull out of the Paris
Agreement, agreed by almost 200 nations and which seeks a shift
from fossil fuels this century as the cornerstone of efforts to
limit heat waves, floods, droughts and rising sea levels.
The fear is that less action by the United States, the
number two greenhouse gas emitter behind China, will cause other
nations to roll back their own goals. The pact has been ratified
so far by 141 nations ranging from Pacific island states to OPEC
The Paris Agreement lets each country set domestic targets
for restricting greenhouse gases and foresees no sanctions for
non-compliance. Trump has sometimes called global warming a hoax
but has also said he has an open mind about Paris.
Still, Trump's rowback is likely to undercut a core
principle of the Paris Agreement that all national plans, due to
be submitted every five years this century, have to be ever
stronger and reflect the "highest possible ambition".
German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks warned
Washington it could lose out. "A shift into "reverse (gear) now
will only hurt themselves in terms of international
competitiveness," she told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily.
Echoing that view, Danish Energy and Climate Minister Lars
Lillehold said there had been "a significant momentum for the
green transition" as green technologies have become cheaper.
In London, a spokesperson for the British Department for
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy reaffirmed Britain's
commitment to tackling global climate change.
Speaking in Brussels, former Brazilian environment minister
Izabella Teixeira said Trump's decision was a mistake.
In many sectors, a shift from coal is underway.
A report by the U.S. Department of Energy in January said
43 percent of the workforce in electric power generation, or
about 374,000 workers, were employed in the solar sector. Fossil
fuels accounted for just 22 percent of jobs in the sector.
"All around the world, wind power and solar power is
becoming so cheap that it will be favoured over fossil fuels,"
said Niklas Hoehne, of the NewClimate Institute in Germany.
In Paris, governments promised to limit a rise in average
surface temperatures to "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6
Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, ideally 1.5.
U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell 11 percent from 2005-15.
Bill Hare, head of the Climate Analytics think-tank, said they
may remain at current levels by 2030 with Trump's policies.
Trump's policies could in turn nudge up the global rise in
temperatures by about 0.1 degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) from a
projected 2.8 degrees (5.0F) by 2100, based on existing
government pledges for action, he said.
(Reporting By Alister Doyle, Stine Jacobsen in Copenhagen, Tom
Miles in Geneva, Madeline Chambers in Berlin, Ben Blanchard and
David Stanway in Beijing, Nina Chestney and Susanne Twidale in
London, Alissa de Carbonnel and Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels;
Editing by Gareth Jones)