Dis­may over Trump cli­mate change exit

China, Europe unite ‘to save Earth’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - THOMAS ESCRITT AND PHILIP BLENKINSOP

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.

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