World leaders reaffirm commitment to fighting climate change

Adjust Comment Print

President Trump, in a bid to keep a major campaign promise, announced Thursday that he is moving to withdraw the USA from the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change while he tries to miraculously strike a better deal. Last month, it launched a spy satellite for a USA intelligence agency.

In Madrid, the leaders of India and Spain expressed their commitment to fighting climate change and reiterated their support for implanting the Kyoto and Paris accords.

The White House signaled withdrawal was likely, but Trump has been known to change his mind at the last minute on such major decisions.

"I'm hearing from a lot of people, both ways", Trump said as he met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump denounced the accord, and called global warming a hoax aimed at weakening US industry.

What has raised alarm amongst many leaders here in the USA and overseas is that backing away from COP21 sends a signal: that the US will lag when it comes to climate change leadership.

A March Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll found that 50 per cent of Republicans agreed that the USA should lead the global fight against climate change, while 37 per cent disagreed and 13 per cent were unsure. Virtually every nation voluntarily committed to steps aimed at curbing global emissions of "greenhouse" gases. These include carbon dioxide generated from burning of fossil fuels that scientists blame for a warming planet, sea level rise, droughts and more frequent violent storms. Some of his aides have been searching for a middle ground in an effort to thread the needle between his base of supporters who oppose the deal for fear it will hamper US economic growth and those warning that a USA exit would deal a blow to the fight against global warming as well as to worldwide US leadership. Nevertheless, he suggested on social media that leaving the climate deal would be part of his broader national economic agenda that puts USA interests first. Trump has said those regulations hurt coal, oil and gas companies, limiting both their production and ability to put Americans to work.

Martin Schulz, a former European Parliament president who is hoping to unseat Merkel in Germany's upcoming general election, said he hoped Trump would think better of withdrawing from the accord. Solar power employs more people in the USA than coal.

One computer simulation - one that many other scientists say is too much of a worst-case scenario - calculates that if the US increases carbon dioxide emissions and the rest of the world hits its targets, America's added carbon pollution will be responsible for about half a degree of warming (0.3 degrees Celsius).

A US withdrawal could deepen a rift with its allies.

China is the top emitter of man-made carbon dioxide emissions, and the United States is second.

"As a matter of principle, I've resigned from the President's Council over the #ParisAgreement withdrawal", Iger said on Twitter.

More news: Agassi stars as Djokovic romps to second-round win
More news: Intel's Powerful Core i9, X-Series Processors Are For Gamers and Creators
More news: Britain's Johanna Konta suffers shock first-round defeat at French Open

Without mentioning the USA specifically, Mr Li said that "China in recent years has stayed true to its commitment", and pointed out that it was one of the first countries to ratify the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The world awaits a decision by President Donald Trump about whether the United States will remain in the Paris Climate Agreement.

Democratic U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Jack Reed wrote a letter urging Trump not to withdraw.

But they also say that even with the US doing its share, preventing that warming is going to be unlikely and will require even more cuts than contained in the Paris agreement.

Whether the US actually stays or remains in the Paris Agreement is still not clear.

As news emerged Wednesday that Trump planned to quit the Paris deal, business leaders and foreign heads-of-state began castigating the decision as a woeful abandonment of USA leadership.

In a statement backed by all 28 EU states, the European Union and China will commit to full implementation of the accord, EU and Chinese officials said.

Trump has said the accord would cost the USA economy trillions of dollars without tangible benefit. For the Republican president, a withdrawal would reflect his "America First" approach to policy, unencumbered by worldwide obligations. Trump appeared unswayed and a communique coming out of the meeting pointedly failed to include the USA among G7 countries backing the agreement.

The Sierra Club's executive director, Michael Brune, called the expected move a "historic mistake which our grandchildren will look back on with stunned dismay at how a world leader could be so divorced from reality and morality".

Asked what kind of exchanges Beijing's leaders have had with Trump regarding his decision, Hua said China and the United States "have maintained close communications at various levels" on subjects including climate change.

The US President made the announcement at the White House on Friday morning (NZ time), saying his predecessor Barack Obama "negotiated poorly" and only signed the 2015 agreement "out of desperation".

Coal firms such as Murray Energy and coal producing states such as Kentucky and West Virginia have urged him to abandon the Paris commitments.

Comments