US STATES ‘COM­MIT­TED TO PARIS AC­CORD’

▶ Present and for­mer gov­er­nors say they do not share Trump’s ‘Stone Age’ opin­ions of fight against cli­mate change

The National - News - - NEWS - NASER AL WASMI Bonn, Ger­many

When pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump an­nounced the US would pull out of the Paris cli­mate deal, it was seen as a sign of de­feat or a chance to fill the vac­uum that would be left by the world’s sec­ond-largest pro­ducer of car­bon diox­ide.

China, the big­gest source of cli­mate-warm­ing green­house gases, re­mains com­mit­ted to its goal of re­duc­ing global tem­per­a­ture to less than 2°C above pre-in­dus­trial lev­els by the end of this cen­tury.

Chi­nese pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s gov­ern­ment au­tho­rised an en­vi­ron­ment tax to start next year, which was her­alded as one of the big­gest en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­icy de­ci­sions lead­ing to the 23rd ses­sion of the con­fer­ence in the Ger­man city of Bonn.

In­dia has also stepped up ef­forts to fight cli­mate change by launch­ing a large-scale so­lar en­ergy project in­tended to pro­vide 40 per cent of the coun­try’s en­ergy by 2030.

Ger­many, mean­while, said it would pro­vide an ex­tra €100 mil­lion (Dh432m) to as­sist de­vel­op­ing coun­tries in meet­ing their cli­mate goals.

But de­spite ef­forts by the 195 na­tions com­mit­ted to the Paris Agree­ment, the US with­draw­ing from the cli­mate deal is dis­cour­ag­ing, said Chris­tiana Figueres, for­mer pres­i­dent of the UN frame­work con­ven­tion on cli­mate change.

“Un­less the US has a pos­i­tive sig­nal for the govern­ments to do their job, even if China and In­dia are do­ing a great job – even if they are do­ing that do­mes­ti­cally – the push on the in­ter­na­tional po­lit­i­cal plat­form to curb cli­mate change will be very dif­fi­cult,” Ms Figueres said.

But for­mer and cur­rent US state gov­er­nors say their coun­try is “still in” to fight global warm­ing, de­spite the Trump gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to pull out of the deal.

A cam­paign launched by more than 2,500 Amer­i­can en­ti­ties, in­clud­ing state govern­ments and uni­ver­si­ties, the We Are Still In dec­la­ra­tion, shows that its mem­bers still rep­re­sent US com­mit­ment to the Paris Agree­ment.

“The rea­son we came here is to let you know that Trump can­not stop us,” said Jay Inslee, Demo­crat gov­er­nor of Wash­ing­ton state.

“You do not have an in­ter­na­tional treaty and pull out, so we have an ac­tion plan that is clean­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.”

He, along with Ore­gon gov­er­nor Kate Brown and the gov­er­nor of Cal­i­for­nia, Jerry Brown, said their states were com­mit­ted to fight­ing global warm­ing.

The three Pa­cific coast states and 12 oth­ers formed the US Cli­mate Al­liance, whose mem­bers make up 40 per cent of the US econ­omy and are com­mit­ted to the Paris Agree­ment.

If these fed­eral and non-fed­eral or­gan­i­sa­tions were a coun­try, their econ­omy would be the third-largest in the world, big­ger than all but two na­tional par­ties to the ac­cord.

“I do not ac­cept the fact that just be­cause we have Trump, the rest of the world goes to hell,” Mr Brown said.

“It’s not just Amer­ica slack­ing off. We can criticise all the coun­tries for not do­ing enough. If Trump does less you have to do more. We’re all in this.”

Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger, a for­mer gov­er­nor of Cal­i­for­nia, said more could be done to counter Mr Trump’s “Stone Age” ac­tions.

“We fought and this is why we can achieve our goals,” Mr Sch­warzeneg­ger said. “I said at the UN that states have tremen­dous power. The re­al­ity of it is that lo­cal govern­ments do 70 per cent of the ac­tion,” he said.

“This is why I was not con­cerned when Trump dropped out. China doesn’t need to pick up the vac­uum and not In­dia – we pick up the vac­uum.”

I said at the UN that states have tremen­dous power ARNOLD SCH­WARZENEG­GER Cal­i­for­nia gov­er­nor, 2003-2011

EPA

Jerry Brown, the vet­eran Demo­crat gov­er­nor of Cal­i­for­nia, was one of sev­eral US fig­ures at Cop 23 in Bonn to criticise Don­ald Trump

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