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        Trump stalled US climate progress: Obama

        By ANGUS McNEICE in Glasgow | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-11-09 09:22
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        A giant balloon depicting a baby is inflated by climate change activists in Glasgow, Scotland, on Monday as the United Nations COP26 summit continued nearby. DYLAN MARTINEZ/REUTERS TPX

        Former United States president Barack Obama criticized his successor, Donald Trump, for pulling out of the Paris Agreement, which he said "stalled" US progress on climate issues.

        In a speech at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland, Obama said Trump oversaw "four years of active hostility towards climate science" while president.

        "Of course, back in the United States, some of our progress stalled when my successor decided to unilaterally pull out of the Paris Agreement in his first year in office," Obama said. "I wasn't real happy about that."

        But Obama said the US is "once again engaged and prepared to take a leadership role" now incumbent President Joe Biden has rejoined the agreement.

        During the World Leaders Summit at the conference last Monday, Biden took the unusual step of apologizing for Trump's withdrawal, which he said had left the US "behind the eight ball" on climate issues.

        China's special climate envoy, Xie Zhenhua, told reporters last week the US withdrawal had hindered progress toward the agreement's goals, and that leaders had to work together to make up this ground once more.

        "Five years have been wasted due to the US' withdrawal (from the Paris Agreement). Now, we need to make up the lost time," Xie said.

        Obama was speaking on a day at the conference dedicated to adaptation, where delegates were charged with delivering the practical solutions needed to adapt to climate impacts and address loss and damage.

        Fourteen nations committed a total of $232 million to the Adaptation Fund, which backs developing countries to take action where they most need it.

        "Climate-vulnerable communities are particularly at the forefront of my mind, and will be so throughout these negotiations," said COP26 President Alok Sharma. "They, and the generations to come, will not forgive us if we fail to deliver in Glasgow."

        On Monday, the UK allotted $372 million of funding to support countries across Asia and the Pacific region, so they can plan and invest in climate action, improve conservation, and deliver low-carbon development.

        Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the UK's international champion on adaptation and resilience, said: "We must act now to stop climate change from pushing more people into poverty. We know that climate impacts disproportionately affect those already most vulnerable. We are aiming for significant change that will ultimately contribute to sustainable development and a climate-resilient future for all, with no one left behind."

        Wang Yi, a senior scientific advisor in China's delegation at COP26, said it was essential that rich nations make good on a promise to deliver $100 billion in climate finance to developing regions each year, a target that was missed in 2020.

        "China would like more effort on supporting developing countries," Wang told The Guardian, a UK newspaper, on Monday.

        Wang, who is deputy director-general of the Institute of Policy and Management at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said critics of China failed to recognize that the nation had put forward detailed action plans for climate targets, while many other nations have only committed to vague and distant goals.

        "No country has issued so many documents to support its targets," Wang said.

        Following a September 2020 commitment to peak CO2 emissions by 2030 and to reach net-zero by 2060, China released five documents just before the COP26 conference detailing how it will achieve its goals.

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