Paris climate deal: Dismay as Trump signals exit from accord

393 desk, June 2: There has been widespread international condemnation of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the move “extremely regrettable” and said nothing would stop those who supported the accord.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would “not judge” Mr Trump.

Mr Trump said he was prepared to discuss a new deal but key signatories to the accord quickly ruled that out.

He said the deal “punished” the US and would cost millions of American jobs. “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” he quipped.

The Paris agreement commits the US and 195 other countries to keeping rising global temperatures “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels and “endeavour to limit” them even more, to 1.5C.

The UN World Meteorological Organisation said on Friday that, in the worst scenario, the US pullout could add 0.3C to global temperatures by the end of the century.

Mr Trump characterised the Paris agreement as a deal that aimed to hobble, disadvantage and impoverish the US.

He said it would cost the US $3tn (£2.3tn) in lost GDP and 6.5 million jobs – while rival economies like China and India were treated more favourably.

Mr Trump said he was fulfilling his “solemn duty to protect America and its citizens”.

He added: “We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore – and they won’t be.”

In other criticism of Mr Trump’s decision on Friday:

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, opening a summit with China in Brussels, said: “There is no backsliding on the Paris agreement”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that the fight against climate change was “unstoppable”

Indian Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said: “As far as the Paris accord is concerned… our government is committed, irrespective of the stand of anyone, anywhere in the world”

The group of 48 least developed countries were deeply disappointed but believed the global climate momentum would continue with or without the US, said chairperson Gebru Jember Endalew.

Small island nations whose existence is threatened by rising sea levels were also critical. The President of the Marshall Islands, Hilda Heine, said it was “highly concerning for those of us that live on the frontline of climate change”

Japan’s Finance Minister Taro Aso said: “I’m not just disappointed, but also feel anger”

Speaking in the Russian city of St Petersburg, President Putin said that while he would not judge Mr Trump, he thought the US should not abandon the Paris accord.

“This agreement hasn’t even taken effect yet – it will take effect by 2021,” he said, speaking in Russian. “So we still have time to reach a deal.” Then, in English, he added: “Don’t worry, be happy.”

It is unclear which deadline Mr Putin was referring to as the Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016.

Source: Agencies