US President Donald Trump's decision to dismantle Obama-era climate change regulations drew criticism from within and outside the United States.
Reacting to the move, China on Wednesday said it is still committed to the Paris climate change accord agreed upon in 2015 while Laurent Fabius, the French politician who chaired talks on the landmark deal, denounced the rollback of US climate policy.
The Trump order's main target is former president Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan that required states to slash carbon emissions from power plants – a critical element in helping the US meet its commitments to the global climate change accord.
Trump insists the order will benefit American workers, notably coal miners.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said climate change was a common challenge for everyone and the Paris agreement was a landmark that came about with the hard work of the international community, including China and the US.
Commenting on Trump's new order, Fabius said such moves were contrary to measures adopted in the December 2015 agreement, known as the COP21 accord.
"The initial decisions from the new US president's administration concerning the battle against global warming constitute a very serious step backwards," he said.
The Paris Agreement seeks to phase out net greenhouse gas emissions by the second half of the century and limit global warming to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
Each country has put forward national plans to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Resistance within the US
Environmental groups and officials in different US states have vowed a showdown over the new executive order.
California Governor Jerry Brown dubbed the order a "colossal mistake."
Gutting #CPP is a colossal mistake and defies science itself. Erasing climate change may take place in Donald Trumps mind, but nowhere else— Jerry Brown (@JerryBrownGov) March 28, 2017
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined Brown in saying that Trump would meet with fierce resistance over his new directive.
"No matter what happens in Washington, we will work to meet our Sustainable City Plan goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, move toward zero emissions transportation, and pursue our vision of a 100 percent clean energy future," the mayor said.
According to USA Today, Annie Leonard of Greenpeace USA said the new US administration's action shows that Trump is "just a fossil fuel industry stooge with a presidential pen."