Mother Earth pushes US off world stage

CityPress - - News -

China and Europe pledged on Fri­day to unite to save Mother Earth in the face of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s de­ci­sion to take the world’s sec­ond­largest car­bon pol­luter out of the Paris cli­mate change pact.

Oth­ers, in­clud­ing Rus­sia, In­dia and Mex­ico, quickly sig­nalled their com­mit­ment to the ac­cord, al­though a Krem­lin aide said it would not be vi­able with­out US par­tic­i­pa­tion.

France said it would work with US states and cities – some of which have bro­ken off with Trump’s de­ci­sions – to keep up the fight against cli­mate change.

The World Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Or­gan­i­sa­tion sought to quan­tify Trump’s de­ci­sion, es­ti­mat­ing that US with­drawal from the emis­sion­scut­ting ac­cord could add 0.3°C to global tem­per­a­tures by the end of the cen­tury in a worst-case sce­nario.

Trump, tap­ping into the Amer­ica First mes­sage he used when he was elected pres­i­dent last year, said he would with­draw the US from the land­mark 2015 global agree­ment on tack­ling global warm­ing.

He said that par­tic­i­pat­ing would un­der­mine the US econ­omy, wipe out jobs, weaken the coun­try’s na­tional sovereignty and put it at a per­ma­nent dis­ad­van­tage to other coun­tries of the world.

The move was met with a mix of dis­may and anger across the world – from many in in­dus­try as well as gov­ern­ments, which scram­bled to re­new their com­mit­ment to curb­ing global warm­ing.

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel, a pas­tor’s daugh­ter who is usu­ally in­tensely pri­vate about her faith, said the ac­cord was needed “to pre­serve our cre­ation”.

“To ev­ery­one for whom the fu­ture of our planet is im­por­tant, I say let’s con­tinue go­ing down this path so we’re suc­cess­ful for our Mother Earth,” she said to ap­plause from leg­is­la­tors. In Paris, the venue for the pact, French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron turned Trump’s “Make Amer­ica great again” cam­paign slo­gan on its head, say­ing in a rare English-lan­guage state­ment that it was time to “make the planet great again”. A long-sched­uled meet­ing on Fri­day be­tween Chi­nese Premier Li Ke­qiang and top EU of­fi­cials in Brus­sels was dom­i­nated by Trump’s de­ci­sion. The meet­ing ended with a joint state­ment pledg­ing full im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Paris deal, com­mit­ting China and the EU to cut­ting back on fos­sil fu­els, de­vel­op­ing more green tech­nol­ogy and helping raise $100 bil­lion (R1.3 tril­lion) per year by 2020 to help poorer coun­tries re­duce their high­pol­lut­ing emis­sions. China has emerged as Europe’s un­likely part­ner in this and other ar­eas – un­der­lin­ing Trump’s iso­la­tion on many is­sues. “There is no re­verse gear to en­ergy tran­si­tion. There is no back­slid­ing on the Paris Agree­ment,” said Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jean-Claude Juncker. The ma­jor­ity of sci­en­tists be­lieve that global warm­ing – bring­ing with it sharp changes in cli­mate pat­terns – is mainly the re­sult of hu­man activities, from agri­cul­ture to in­dus­try. A small group of scep­tics – some of whom are in the Trump White House – be­lieve this is a hoax, and one that could be dam­ag­ing to busi­ness. En­vi­ron­men­tal groups were scathing. The US Sierra Club, cit­ing Trump’s en­dorse­ment of what he re­gards as clean coal, tweeted: “Clean coal, you can find that next to the unicorns and leprechauns.”

– Reuters

PHOTO: REUTERS

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump an­nounces his de­ci­sion that the US will with­draw from the land­mark Paris cli­mate agree­ment

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