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 second largest carbon polluter out of the Paris climate change pact.
- French President Emmanuel Macron says it is time “to make the planet great again”
- China and Europe pledge to unite to uphold the Paris Climate agreement
- Trump announced the US would leave the pact, saying it disadvantaged the US to the benefit of other countries
Others, including Australia and India, signalled their commitment to the accord, but Russian President Vladimir Putin said that while the United States should have remained in the 2015 deal, he would not judge Trump.
Tapping into the “America First” message he used on the election trail, Mr Trump announced the withdrawal yesterday, saying that participating would undermine the US economy, wipe out US jobs, weaken American national sovereignty and put the country at a permanent disadvantage to others.
There was a mix of dismay and anger across the world.
France said it would work with US states and cities — some of which have broken with Mr Trump’s decisions — to keep up the fight against climate change.
In Paris, the venue for the pact, French President Emmanuel Macron turned Mr 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”.
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.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the accord was necessary to “preserve our creation”. (AP: Michael Sohn)
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would not judge Mr Trump for quitting the pact, but said he thought Washington could have stayed in the agreement.
Speaking at an economic forum in St Petersburg, Mr Putin said the 2015 Paris accord was a good document, but that Russia had not yet ratified it because it was waiting for certain technical details to be settled.
China and Europe together again
A long-scheduled meeting on Friday between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and top European Union (EU) officials in Brussels was dominated by Mr 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 $US100 billion ($134.8 billion) a year by 2020 to help poorer countries reduce their high-polluting emissions.
China emerged as Europe’s unlikely partner in this and in other areas — underlining Mr Trump’s isolation on many issues.
“There is no reverse gear to energy transition. There is no backsliding on the Paris Agreement,” EU leader Jean-Claude Juncker said.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker welcomes Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. (Reuters: Francois Lenoir)
‘Industry must now lead, not depend on government’
The vast 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.
Despite this, a number of figures from US industry expressed their dismay at Mr Trump’s move.
Jeff Immelt, chief executive officer of US conglomerate General Electric, tweeted: “Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government”.
Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk and Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger said they would leave White House advisory councils after Mr Trump’s move.
German industry associations also criticised Mr Trump’s decision, warning that it would harm the global economy and lead to market distortions.
Germany’s DIHK Chambers of Commerce and the VDMA engineering industry group warned that US companies could gain short-term advantages by Mr Trump’s decision.
“Climate protection can be pushed forward in an effective and competition-friendly way only by all states,” said DIHK President Eric Schweitzer.
Environmental groups were scathing. The US Sierra Club, citing Mr Trump’s endorsement of what he regards as clean coal, tweeted: “Clean coal, you can find that next to the unicorns and leprechauns”.
The World Meteorological Organization said the US withdrawal from the emissions-cutting accord could add 0.3 degrees Celsius to global temperatures by the end of the century in “a worst-case scenario”.