China vows to work with EU to uphold Paris pact

Alain Brian
Juin 2, 2017

As Donald Trump ponders whether he will withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, the chief of the United Nations made an impassioned appeal to the rest of the world to remain united.

The European Commission president on Wednesday said that it was the "duty of Europe" to stand up to the USA if President Donald Trump decides to pull his country out of the Paris climate change accord.

Tesla founder and technology luminary Elon Musk said Wednesday he would quit President Donald Trump's business advisory councils if Washington pulls out of the Paris climate accord. It would reflect a major reversal of the Obama administration's efforts on climate change.

Trump has said the accord would cost the USA economy trillions of dollars without tangible benefit.

America's withdrawal could have major implications on the pact which relies heavily on the commitment of big polluter nations to reduce gas emissions which scientists blame for rising sea levels, droughts and frequent violent storms.

The accord, agreed on by almost 200 countries in Paris in 2015, aims to limit planetary warming in part by slashing carbon dioxide and other emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

Under the agreement, the US had agreed to reduce the country's pollution emissions to 26 percent to 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2025 - about 1.6 billion tons. But in conversations over the past week, Trump has made clear he plans to fulfill his campaign promises to withdraw. "Then, we must find partners to continue, because this work must not stop", Sipila said.

"Ultimately he wants a fair deal for the American people and he will have an announcement coming on that shortly."

Scott Vaughan, president of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, said the USA withdrawal would be a blow to Paris and climate change policy around the world because, until recently, it had been the leader on the file.

But reaction from the worldwide community was swift, without mentioning Trump by name.

A formal withdrawal would take years, experts say, a situation that led European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to speak dismissively of Mr Trump on Wednesday.

He added: "The world is in a mess".

He met Tuesday with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, one of the strongest voices calling for the drop out of the Paris accord.

Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila (JOO'-hah SEE'-pah-lah) says climate change won't be reversed "by closing your eyes".

Juncker said: "If the USA president pulls out of the Paris agreement, and he will in the next days or hours, then it is Europe's duty to say that that is not how it works".

In order to do that, countries pledge to reduce their carbon emissions. "Trump has abandoned the standard of American leadership, turned his back on the what the public and the market demand, and shamelessly disregarded the safety of our families just to let the fossil fuel industry eek out a few more dollars in profits".

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and 21 other Republican sent President Trump a letter last week urging him to follow through on his campaign pledge to pull out of the climate accord.

Cash, who was the minister at Wednesday's hearing, said the government had made it clear that the United States saying the course with the global climate agreement was desirable and in Australia's national interest.

A senior European Union official said the EU and China would reaffirm their commitment to the pact regardless of what Trump did, and spell out, during talks Friday in Brussels, how they would meet their obligations. A source told Reuters that India had also indicated it would stick by the deal.

After taking office, however, Trump faced pressure to stay in the deal from investors, global powers and business leaders, including some in the coal industry. He also had to navigate a split among his advisers.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis responded in a television interview on Sunday, assuring that Mr Trump was "wide open on this issue as he takes in the pros and cons of that accord".

"I think that our credibility will be undermined", said the Connecticut Democrat on CNN.

According to "The Hill" newspaper, the move marks a dramatic departure from the Obama administration, which was instrumental in crafting the deal.

The stay camp included Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, as well as Trump's daughter and assistant Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, a White House senior advisor.

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