Global reaction to US pullout from Paris climate deal

President Donald Trump's decision to pull the US from the Paris climate accord prompted a global backlash and also drew a sharp reaction from the business world.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

The 2015 Paris Agreement is the first pact to commit all nations to limiting global warming caused by emissions from burning coal, oil and gas.

World leaders reacted with anger and defiance after President Donald Trump on Thursday announced the United States, the world's second biggest carbon emitter, was quitting the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

The 2015 Paris Agreement is the first pact to commit all nations to limiting global warming caused by emissions from burning coal, oil and gas.

"I cannot, in good conscience, support a deal that punishes the United States," Trump said while announcing the decision to pull the US out of the agreement.

TRT World's Azadeh Ansari reports.

Trump repeatedly painted the pact, struck by his predecessor Barack Obama, as a deal that did not "put America first" and was too easy on economic rivals India, China and Europe. 

The US had committed to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. The US accounts for more than 15 percent of total worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, second only to China.

The withdrawal prompted a global backlash, but while supporters said the US simply needed a better deal.

Joint statement by Europe's big three

In an exceptional step, the leaders of Germany, France and Italy issued a joint statement to criticise Trump's move and rejected his offer of renegotiating the deal.

"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."

US President Trump announces decision to withdraw from Paris Climate Agreement in the White House Rose Garden on June 1, 2017. (Reuters)

The US has "turned its back on the world"

The newly-elected French president, Emmanuel Macron, also made a separate address.

"I tell you firmly tonight: We will not renegotiate a less ambitious accord. There is no way. Tonight the United States has turned its back on the world, but France will not turn its back on Americans. Wherever we live, wherever we are we all share the same responsibility, make our planet great again," Macron said.

Britain, Canada 'disappointed'

British Prime Minister Theresa May told Trump that she was "disappointed" by his decision to pull the US out of the Paris climate accord, the prime minister's office said after a call between the leaders.

"The Paris Agreement provides the right global framework for protecting the prosperity and security of future generations, while keeping energy affordable and secure for our citizens and businesses," May told Trump by phone, it said in a statement.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed May's words in a statement shortly after Trump's announcement.

"We are deeply disappointed that the United States federal government has decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. While the US decision is disheartening, we remain inspired by the growing momentum around the world to combat climate change and transition to clean growth economies," Trudeau said.

EU and China unite

The European Union and China will commit to full implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement, EU and Chinese officials said after the US withdrawal.

"China will stand by its responsibilities on climate change," Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told reporters after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Miguel Arias Canete, the EU's energy commissioner, said in a statement after Trump's announcement that the European Union deeply regretted the decision but would seek new allies in the fight against climate change.

UN says US leadership needed

"It is crucial that the United States remains a leader on environmental issues," Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General, said.

"The Secretary-General looks forward to engaging with the American government and all actors in the United States and around the world to build the sustainable future on which our grandchildren depend."

"Flawed" agreement

US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, in a statement, said the US did not need to "jeopardise our economy in order to please other counties that don’t come anywhere near our environmental standards." 

"President Trump acted in America’s best interest, moving away from a flawed agreement ... and opening the door to a new agreement that reaches the right balance. America will remain a leader in environmental protection," she said.

US Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, "the president is committed to renegotiating the deal but a deal that’s fair for us."

Republican House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said, "It's now up to the administration to deliver a better deal."

Business world reacts

Tesla founder Elon Musk confirmed he would quit White House advisory councils on business in protest.

"Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world," Musk wrote on Twitter shortly after Trump's announcement.

Disney chief Robert Iger followed suit, saying he was resigning from the panels "as a matter of principle."

Other tech and industrial sector representatives expressed frustration with the White House's decision and pledged to continue working to combat global warming.

"I want to reassure you that today’s developments will have no impact on Apple’s efforts to protect the environment," Apple CEO Tim Cook told employees in an email.

California, Washington New York form alliance

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a statement joining California Governor Jerry Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced the formation of an alliance of states committed to upholding the Paris agreement.

"The White House's reckless decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement has devastating repercussions not only for the United States, but for our planet," Cuomo said.

TRTWorld and agencies