Leaders pledge to boost climate efforts after Trump decision

Nick Mcbride
June 3, 2017

Donald Trump's decision for the United States to join the elite club - hitherto comprising only Syria and Nicaragua - of countries rejecting the climate agreement has largely drawn negative reactions from all over the world.

Meanwhile, China and Europe pledged on Friday to unite to save "Mother Earth" in the face of Trump's decision to take the world's second-largest carbon polluter out of the Paris climate change pact.

Belgian prime minister Charles Michel, who met Trump in Brussels just last week, called the pull-out a "brutal act", while Ireland's former president, Mary Robinson, called it "unconscionable". Beijing has always been eyeing the role of world leader, as was evident in the way President Xi Jinping emerged as a champion of globalisation at this year's Davos Summit, stating, "Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room". The US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord will encourage the European Union and other countries to look increasingly to Asia and China.

"While the USA decision is disheartening, we remain inspired by the growing momentum around the world to combat climate change and transition to clean growth economies", said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"We certainly do not support the withdrawal of the USA from the Paris agreement", said Erwan Monier, a lead researcher at the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, and one of the study's authors.

"Climate change is real".

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk and Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger said they would leave White House advisory councils after US President Donald Trump said he would withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

Germany's environment minister, Barbara Hendricks, told reporters in Berlin that other countries will fill the leadership vacuum but none will be expected to make up the shortfall in emissions reductions caused by Washington's exit. "Climate change does not respect worldwide borders, it imperils us all", Branson wrote.

Poor countries are predicted to be among the hardest hit by global warming, with some foreseeing tens of millions of "climate refugees" in coming decades.

"U.S. business is best served by a stable and practical framework facilitating an effective and balanced global response", the letter stated.

Making the announcement at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, Trump, who once said global warming is a hoax perpetrated by Beijing, singled out India and China as he listed the reasons for withdrawing from the climate change accord.

Trump said the United States would stop payments to the U.N. Green Climate Fund, in which rich countries committed billions of dollars to help developing nations deal with floods, droughts and other impacts from climate change. Even US oil majors reiterated their support for the endangered agreement.

"I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris", Trump said.

The president of the World Coal Association, Benjamin Sporton, told Reuters that he had mixed feelings about Trump's announcement, adding he was eager to see a U.S. policy that actively promotes a place for coal in the global energy mix.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo insisted that clean energy is already creating jobs and boosting economies, contrary to Trump's claims, and called him "a representative of a world gone by, a world that is looking back in the rear-view mirror and does not see what is happening today".

Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas said Mrs May's "slow and timid" response to the USA announcement was another sign of her weakness.

Other reports by VgToday

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