Dismay over Trump climate change exit
China, Europe unite ‘to save Earth’
BERLIN/ BRUSSELS: China and Europe have pledged to unite to save “Mother Earth” in the face of US President Donald’s Trump’s decision to take the world’s largest 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 with Trump’s decisions – to keep up the fight against climate change.
The World Meteorological Organisation sought to quantify Trump’s decision, estimating US withdrawal from the accord could add 0.3 degrees Celsius 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 US jobs, weaken American national sovereignty and put the country at a permanent disadvantage to the 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 curb 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 lawmakers.
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 yesterday 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 PICTURE: AP fuels, developing more green technology and helping raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poorer countries reduce their high-polluting 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,” European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said.
Russia struck a rare negative note. While Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said he did not think Trump’s decision would prompt Russia to rethink its own stance, the Kremlin suggested the withdrawal could be fatal to the pact.
Environmental groups were scathing. 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.” – Reuters
Protesters gather outside the White House in Washington on Thursday.