Trump's decision to pull out of Paris Agreement branded 'one of the worst foreign policy blunders in history'

US withdrawal from the agreement aligns the country with Syria and Nicaragua

Alexandra Wilts
Washington DC
Friday 02 June 2017 02:42
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President Donald Trump walks out of the Oval Office to the Rose Garden of the White House
President Donald Trump walks out of the Oval Office to the Rose Garden of the White House

Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate deal has been labelled an “international disgrace” by world leaders, US politicians and environmental groups, who all lined-up to decry the President's announcement.

The President’s decision to pull the US out of the accord aligns the country with Syria and Nicaragua, the only two nations that did not sign up for the 195-nation deal reached in Paris in 2015.

Mr Trump called German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Theresa May after his speech announcing his decision – but that did not stop his allies from voicing their displeasure.

Ms May told Mr Trump that she was disappointed and stressed that the UK remained committed to the agreement.

Italy, France and Germany issued a joint statement saying they regretted Mr Trump's decision to withdraw, and dismissed his suggestion that the global pact could be revised. The US President said he is seeking a “fairer deal” that would protect American workers.

“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,” the leaders of the three countries said.

The unusual French-Italian-German statement, released barely an hour after Mr Trump announced his decision, underscored the disappointment of the Eurozone's three largest economies and their resolve to plough ahead without Washington's support.

Ms Merkel said that she would continue to work to “save the Earth” while Mr Macron said there was “no plan B because there is no planet B”. Aping Mr Trump's 'Make America Great Again' slog, Mr Macron urged nations to “make our planet great again”.

Back in the US, former President Barack Obama – who helped shape the Paris accord – said Mr Trump's administration was joining “a small handful of nations that reject the future”.

Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Senator, called the US’s withdrawal an “abdication of American leadership”.

“At this moment, when climate change is already causing devastating harm around the world, we do not have the moral right to turn our backs on efforts to preserve this planet for future generations,” Mr Sanders said.

Democratic senator Sheldon Whitehouse, co-chair of the US Senate’s Climate Action Task Force said, “ignoring reality and leaving the Paris agreement could go down as one of the worst foreign policy blunders in our nation's history.”

Democratic congresswoman Norma Torres, a member of the House’s natural resources committee, noted that the agreement was a “landmark achievement that saw unprecedented cooperation between 175 nations and all sectors of the economy.”

“To say this was a diplomatic victory for the United States would be an understatement,” Ms Torres said. “However, once again, we're seeing President Trump cede US global leadership to suit his personal political agenda.”

Tanya Steele, chief executive of the World Wildlife Fund, said the US’s withdrawal “would make it harder for the world, to reach a safer and more prosperous future.”

“Most people in the UK want the Prime Minister to convince President Trump to stay true to what was agreed in Paris and we urge the next UK Government to press for the USA to urgently re-join the Agreement,” Ms Steele said.

She added: “The Paris Agreement is more important than just one country and with over 196 signatories it will continue to work towards a low carbon, sustainable future. The Trump administration must not only back the agreement but be a driving force in tackling climate change.”

Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris and Chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, urged Mr Trump to reconsider his “short-sighted” decision.

“The years to 2020 will be crucial in determining if the worst effects of climate change can be avoided,” Ms Hidalgo wrote in an editorial for Newsweek. “American leadership on this urgent challenge is needed now more than ever.”

However, she added that regardless of Mr Trump’s action, “the great cities of the world, in particular the 12 American C40 cities, remain resolutely committed to doing what needs to be done to implement the Paris Agreement”.

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