Europe Rejects Trump's Offer to Renegotiate Climate Deal
The European Union (EU) has rejected a call by U.S. President Donald Trump to renegotiate its role in the historic Paris Climate Agreement.
Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the landmark 2015 Paris Climate Agreement has resulted in a backlash from most European nations, large businesses and even a number of key U.S. states and cities. The EU has said that it will now bypass Washington to work directly with U.S. states and business groups. Pittsburgh, Washington and Massachusetts are among those that came out in support of the agreement after the decision was announced.
Markku Markkula, president of the European Committee of the Regions, stated: "The decision of the U.S. government to withdraw from the Paris Agreement is regrettable and endangers our ability to live in security, as well as the future of the whole planet. The EU's cities and regions call upon their global allies, including through the Global Covenant of Mayors network, to stick to the commitments reached two years ago in Paris, in order to ensure a green, secure, sustainable life in a rapidly changing environment."
He added: "We must tap into the vast support for climate action among voters and among local and regional politicians, by giving cities and regions a formal role in shaping the global climate agenda. On this side of the Atlantic, regions and cities have already said that they can and will deliver the climate goals agreed in Paris, and many are willing to go further. We extend our support to all U.S. cities and states willing to try and do the same."
The Paris Agreement was adopted by all 196 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015. They agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and to strive for 1.5 degrees. In April 2016, representatives from more than 165 countries gathered in New York to sign the Paris Climate Agreement, which will directly impact energy investment decisions and the issue of greenhouse gas emissions for decades to come. For additional information, see November 30, 2015, article - Paris Climate Talks Bring Call to Action from UN and April 25, 2016, article - Historic Climate Deal Signed in New York.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and new French President Emmanuel Macron also voiced their disappointment at Trump's decision and reiterated their support.
"This decision cannot and will not deter all of us who feel obliged to protect this earth," Merkel said in a TV broadcast. "We will gather all our strength--in Germany, in Europe and in the world--to meet the great challenges of humanity, like climate change, and to successfully master these challenges. For all for whom the future of this planet is important, I say: Let us continue along this path together, so that we are successful for our Mother Earth."
"I can assure you, France will not give up the fight," Macron told reporters and in a twist to Trump's much repeated election slogan, concluded: "Make our planet great again."
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pointed out that that President Trump can't just "exit the agreement."
He explained: "That's not how it works. The Americans can't just leave the Climate Protection Agreement. Mr. Trump believes that because he doesn't get close enough to the dossiers to fully understand them. It would take three to four years after the agreement came into force in November 2016 to leave the agreement. So this notion, 'I am Trump, I am American, America First and I'm going to get out of it' -- that won't happen. We tried to explain that to Mr. Trump in Taormina in clear German sentences. It seems our attempt failed, but the law is the law, and it must be obeyed. Not everything which is law and not everything in international agreements is fake news, and we have to comply with it."
Both India and China also expressed their support for the climate action under way.
India's energy minister, Piyush Goyal, reiterated "India's resolve to take up the leadership of saving the planet from climate change while others abrogate their leadership."
For more information, please subscribe to the IIR blog.