United States President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change on Friday invited condemnation from all over the world. Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron clearly stated that the agreement could not be renegotiated. “We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated, since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies,” read the statement.
Merkel’s team put out an official statement saying she was disappointed with Trump’s decision. “Now more than ever we will work for global policies that save our planet,” Merkel’s spokesperson Steffen Seibert said on Twitter. Macron said Trump’s decision was “a mistake for the future of our planet.” Reiterating that the terms of the deal will not be renegotiated, Macron said, “Don’t be mistaken on climate; there is no plan B because there is no planet B.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May, too, said she was “disappointed” with Trump’s his decision. However, Britain responded to the exit call much after the world reacted to it, reported The Guardian. The Vatican said the “disastrous” decision was a “slap in the face” for the pope. Japan said the decision was “regrettable” while Environment Minister Koichi Yamamoto said he was disappointed and angry.
Canada and Mexico also condemned the decision. “Mexico maintains its support and commitment to the Paris agreement to stop the effects of global climate change,” said Prime Minister Enqrique Peña Nieto. His Canadian counterpart, Justin Trudeau, also expressed his disappointment.
Australia’s Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg condemned the move while New Zealand’s Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett argued that US was not made to pay a disproportionate cost. “So much of what [Trump] said is wrong,” he added. While pulling out, Trump said he had prioritised American workers and saved many jobs with this decision. “We are getting out,” Trump said.
Environmentalists and corporate honchos also criticised the decision as an irresponsible move. Scientists said it would be almost impossible to achieve the goal of curbing global warming.
However, many US companies said they would continue their own existing policies to restricting greenhouse gas emissions, reported The Washington Post. Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama said that while he was disappointed with the development, he was confident that US states, cities, and businesses will do “even more to protect future generations”.
Trump’s move is a huge setback to a major international effort, spearheaded by the previous US administration under Obama, to counter effects of climate change. The US president said countries like China and India, which were leading polluters, were getting away with a partial deal. “For example, under the agreement, China will be able to increase emissions by a staggering number of years – 13. They can do whatever they want for 13 years. Not us. India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries.”
He said there are multiple such instances of how the deal favours China and India. “As someone who cares deeply about our environment, I cannot in good conscience support a deal which punishes the United States. The Paris Accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States... We do not want other leaders and other countries laughing at us any more. And they will not be,” said the US president.
Trump had vowed to pull out of the Paris Accord during his presidential election campaign. “I was elected by the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Trump said during his address from the Rose Garden.