EU leaders goad Donald Trump as bloc brokers climate change pact with China

'The Americans can’t just leave the Climate Protection Agreement. He believes that because he doesn’t get close enough to the dossiers to fully understand them'

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The Independent Online

EU leaders have launched a scathing attack on Donald Trump as he prepares to announce his decision to remove the US from the Paris climate accord. 

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker accused the US President of ignorance, claiming “he doesn’t get close enough to the dossiers to fully understand them.”

Speaking in Berlin, he revealed it could take as long as three to four years to leave the agreement, meaning the US would only be removed from the pact after the next presidential election. 

It comes as the bloc reached a historic pact with China to uphold the international agreement to combat climate change in the face of Mr Trump’s expected retreat. 

Beijing and Brussels have reportedly agreed to accelerate the shift away from fossil fuels, according to documents seen by the Financial Times

Mr Trump is expected to announce whether he will follow through on his campaign pledge to remove the US from the Paris accord on Thursday, after claiming during the election race that global warming was a hoax aimed at weakening US industry.

Numerous reports, citing White House sources, have confirmed he is poised to withdraw from the agreement - seen as one of his predecessor Barack Obama’s greatest achievements. 

However Mr Juncker said exiting the agreement will be a more complicated process than Mr Trump appears to believe. 

“That’s not how it works. The Americans can’t just leave the Climate Protection Agreement. Mr Trump believes that because he doesn’t get close enough to the dossiers to fully understand them,” Mr Juncker said. 

“This notion: ‘I am Trump, I am American, America first and I’m going to get out of it it,’ that won’t happen...the law is the law and it must be obeyed. Not everything which is law and not everything in international agreements is fake news and we have to comply with it.”

European Council President Donald Tusk issued his own plea to the US leader, urging him not to “change the (political) climate for the worse.”

Plans to “forge ahead” with measures to “lead the energy transition” are expected to be announced in a joint statement from EU leaders and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Brussels on Friday. 

In a seeming dig at Mr Trump’s position, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said climate change is a "global challenge" no country can ignore. However, she stopped short of naming the US. 

China is the top emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, with the US trailing close behind. Both were key to the 2015 Paris agreement, which was signed by 195 parties.

Withdrawing from the Paris pact became a central message of the Trump presidential campaign. He promised his “America First” policy would protect US businesses from international interference, and claimed withdrawing from the accord would save the US economy trillions of dollars. 

The pact was the first legally binding global deal to fight climate change. Virtually every nation voluntarily committed to steps aimed at curbing global emissions of "greenhouse" gases. 

These include carbon dioxide generated from burning of fossil fuels that scientists blame for a warming planet, sea level rise, droughts and more frequent violent storms.

The US would join Nicaragua and Syria as the only non-participants if it withdraws from the agreement.