World leaders, businesses, scientists and charities join in urging the US president not to abandon the global accord
Demonstrators march to protest the G7 summit at nearby Taormina, Sicily.
World leaders, businesses, investors, scientists and development charities have joined in urging Donald Trump not to withdraw the US from the Paris climate change agreement.
The US president is due to announce his decision at 3pm ET on Thursday and is expected to pull the world’s largest economy, and second greatest polluter, from the global accord agreed unanimously by almost 200 nations in 2015.
The agreement to fight global warming is based on voluntary pledges to cut greenhouse emissions but Trump has argued this could damage the US economy. However, a huge range of US business leaders argue the opposite, saying the fast-growing green economy is an opportunity for the US.
Twenty-five leading companies, including Apple, Facebook, Google, Levi Strauss and Unilever, are running an advert in the US media on Thursday, urging Trump not to abandon the Paris deal. They say the accord’s “stable and practical framework” creates jobs and is good for business.
More than 1,000 other US companies and investors, including DuPont, eBay and Nike, have also backed the Paris deal, saying: “Failure to build a low-carbon economy puts American prosperity at risk.” The Tesla boss, Elon Musk, said he had urged Trump to back Paris and would resign from two presidential advisory bodies he serves on.
World leaders also stated their commitment to the Paris deal, with China’s premier Li Keqiang saying on Thursday that fighting climate change was a “global consensus” and an “international responsibility”. The EU and China have forged a new alliance on climate change, stating on Wednesday that the Paris deal had their “highest political commitment”.
Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, tweeted at Trump on Thursday: “Please don’t change the (political) climate for the worse.” Trump was isolated on the climate issue at a recent G7 summit in Italy.
Malcolm Turnbull, the prime minister of Australia, which has in the past opposed climate action, said the country would remain steadfast in its support for the Paris agreement. Russia has said it attaches “great significance” to the Paris deal. On Tuesday the UN secretary general, António Guterres, warned that if Trump withdrew from the Paris deal there could be negative economic, security and societal consequences for the US.
Trump’s own secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has said the US should remain in the Paris accord, as has the man who replaced Tillerson as CEO of ExxonMobil. Another key Trump adviser, Gary Cohn, director of the White House National Economic Council, noted recently the large rise in renewable energy in the US. “If you think about how much solar and how much wind power we’ve created in the US, we can be a manufacturing powerhouse and still be environmentally friendly.”
Trump himself once backed climate action, signing a 2009 letter to Barack Obama that stated: “Please allow us, the USA, to serve in modeling the change necessary to protect humanity and our planet.”
Development NGOs warned that a US withdrawal from the Paris agreement would harm those in poor countries who had contributed least to the problem.
“This will have very serious consequences for millions around the world, whose lives are on the line because of climate change,” said Heather Coleman, of Oxfam America. “Pulling out of the Paris agreement [would be] a huge embarrassment that puts the US in the same camp as Nicaragua and Syria – the only two states who are not party to the agreement.”
Scientists have also joined calls for the US to remain. Prof Gabi Hegerl, of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, said: “We know that to limit warming and the impacts it causes, we need to limit the total amount of carbon added to the atmosphere. This can only be done if the world economies work together. If Paris is abandoned or weakened, I fear for the future of our children.”
If Trump does pull the US from the Paris deal, US city mayors have said they will abide by it nonetheless. The New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, said on Twitter: “The president withdrawing from the Paris agreement would be horribly destructive for the planet, the country, and this city. He should know that climate change is a dagger aimed straight at the heart of New York City.”
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, who chairs a group of 40 major cities, said: “No matter what decision is made by the White House, cities are honouring their responsibilities to implement the Paris agreement. There is no alternative for the future of our planet”
Analysts have warned that a US withdrawal could see carbon taxes placed on US exports in the future. Richard Black, director of the UK’s Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: “A pullout would widen the diplomatic rift with Europe that emerged at the G7 summit and could even lead to trade barriers being erected against US exports.”
There are few voices supporting Trump, but Bjørn Lomborg, a Danish scientist, said: “The carbon-cutting treaty approach has failed politically and economically for two decades. It is an incredibly expensive distraction from the green energy R&D investment that is needed to solve climate change.”
Source By https://www.theguardian.com