Former French PM attacks US decision to withdraw from Paris Agreement amid warnings of rapid climate change

'President Trump's decision might not destroy the worldwide movement towards climate action but is a very serious blow'

Donald Trump on Paris Agreement: 'We could conceivably go back in... I feel very strongly about the environment'

A former prime minister of France has called America’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement “dangerous nonsense” as he has warned of a “race against time” to stop global warming.

Laurent Fabius, a Socialist politician, warned global climate change was getting worse faster than expected and the US decision to withdraw from the accord was a “very serious blow”.

Mr Fabius, who was a key player in establishing the agreement in 2015 which required nations to do their bit to combat greenhouse gases, emphasised the importance of the pact at a climate conference on Friday.

He told a climate conference the withdrawal of the world's second-largest polluter set a "very bad example" to other countries wondering whether to stick to their commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

"President Trump's decision might not destroy the worldwide movement toward climate action but is a very serious blow," Mr Fabius said, calling it a "race against time" to stop global warming as carbon dioxide emissions are on the rise.

Laurent Fabius, who was a key player in establishing the agreement in 2015 which required nations to do their bit to combat greenhouse gases, emphasised the importance of the pact at a climate conference

Last year was one of the three warmest years on record, he said, and global temperatures could rise by 2C by 2050, a half-century earlier than the international community's intended target.

The key to whether global temperatures can be curbed depends on whether several South Asian countries follow through with the construction of new coal-fired power plants, Mr Fabius said.

He said another challenge is establishing a roadmap for the implementation of the Paris agreement, which is expected to be approved in December amid difficult negotiations.

Mr Fabius reiterated the need for a global environmental pact to prevent nations from backsliding on their environmental protection obligations.

The agreement commits the world’s countries to preventing global warming to no more than 2C above pre-industrial temperatures by the end of the century.

Those who signed the pledge have vowed to undertake initiatives towards reducing greenhouse gases. Less well-off countries were offered economic initiatives to take part.

Last year, Donald Trump announced the controversial decision that America would withdraw from the agreement, which he previously called a "terrible deal" for his country.

The former US president, Barack Obama, signed the pledge in 2014, vowing to make around $3bn worth of payments towards the initiative.

Around a third of these payments had been made by the time Mr Trump decided to withdraw the pledge.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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