EU's Juncker opens China summit vowing 'no backsliding' on Paris deal

Cheryl Sanders
June 2, 2017

The UN says the decision by the United States to withdraw from Paris Agreement on Climate Change is a disappointment for global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote global security.

President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement has thrown China, notorious for the noxious air pollution clogging many of its cities, into the unlikely position of global leadership on climate change - whether it wants the job or not.

"This is an agreement that puts an enormous burden on American consumers [and] on the American economy while allowing countries like India and China to virtually get off scot-free for a decade or more", Pence said.

The vice president also noted that the agreement amounted to "an worldwide treaty that was never submitted to the Senate, probably because it never would have had a chance there".

Other countries, including India, signaled their commitment to the accord, but Russian President Vladimir Putin said that while the United States should have remained in the 2015 deal, he would not judge Trump, and warned about the accord's impact on jobs and poverty. "The Paris agreement is here to stay and the 29 articles of the Paris agreement are not to be renegotiated", he said after meeting his Chinese counterpart. To rack up that number, the president had to reach back to October. For example, in November 2012, he said on Twitter that "the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive".

She denied it showed she is subservient to Mr Trump, and said she had made it clear in her telephone call on Thursday night that the United Kingdom continues to support the agreement and the Government wanted the USA to remain in the deal.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was disappointed at the announced exit from the Paris agreement.

Already, the Governors of California, New York, and Washington have formed the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition that will bring together USA states to uphold the Paris Agreement and take further climate action.

To Washington's chagrin, China a year ago set up its own development bank to meet needs left unfilled by US -led institutions like the World Bank.

And he was even firmer on the prospect, raised by Trump, of a renegotiation.

"This is religion for the political left, and our supporters are constantly being asked to change their behavior", a top White House official told Axios, who added that "snarky comments" from European leaders also encouraged Trump to withdraw. President George W. Bush demonstrated the futility of announcing a withdrawal under terms not designated by an worldwide agreement when he tried to "unsign" the Rome Statute, which established the global Criminal Court.

France's left-wing Libération newspaper took a more personal view of the Mr Trump, saying: "Since his accession to the White House, the U.S. president has believed he is on a reality show. In future, China will continue to work on anti-climate change progress and uphold climate change process globally". Specifically, it requires countries to set their own targets for reducing emissions by 2020.

Under its climate action plan, the United States had pledged merely 26-28 per cent emission reduction below 2005 levels by 2025.

Mr Trump's unpredictability, his refusal to honour key worldwide agreements such as this and a capacity for faux pas on a global scale are sidelining his nation as a force for good in world affairs.

The global community can fight to keep Paris, and the rule of law, for four more years. "I believe the United States of America should be at the front of the pack".

As such, it is critical not to overreact and lose sight of domestic issues that could significantly jeopardize future climate policies. Only time and concerted effort will tell whether, despite Donald Trump's rhetoric, we'll always have Paris.

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