Paris climate deal: Europe vows to keep fighting global warming after US withdrawal

Emmanuel Macron says worlds duty is to make our planet great again as leaders react to Trump pulling out of Paris accord

European leaders have pledged to keep fighting against global warming after Donald Trump announced he was pulling the US out of the Paris climate accord.

The leaders of France, Germany and Italy said in a joint statement that they regretted the US decision to withdraw from the accord, but affirmed our strongest commitment to implement its measures and encouraged all our partners to speed up their action to combat climate change.

While Trump said the US would be willing to rejoin the accord if it could obtain more favourable terms, the three European leaders said the agreement could not be renegotiated since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economics.

Emmanuel Macron, the French president, said in an unprecedented English-language speech from the Elyse Palace, said he believed Trump had made a mistake. I do respect this decision but I do think it is an actual mistake both for the US and for our planet.

Wherever we live, whoever we are, we all share the same responsibility: make our planet great again, Macron added.

Trumps decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement means the worlds second largest emitter of greenhouse gases will exit the international effort to address dangerous global warming. It joins Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries not party to it.

In an announcement in the White House garden, Trump said: The fact that the Paris deal hamstrings the United States while empowering some of the worlds top polluting countries should expel any doubt as to why foreign lobbyists should wish to keep our beautiful country tied up and bound down Thats not going to happen while Im president, Im sorry.

He added: I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.

Trumps predecessor, Barack Obama, issued a rare statement saying the new administration had joined a small handful of nations that reject the future. But he said that US states, cities and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet weve got.

Former vice-president Al Gore called the move reckless and indefensible, while among the business leaders to express regret over the move was Jeff Immelt, the chair and CEO of General Electric, who said climate change is real and industry must now lead.

The Pittsburgh mayor, Bill Peduto, said he would issue an executive order on Friday pledging the city would follow through on carbon reduction goals. In cities across America, youll see mayors standing up and saying, we got this, he told CNN.

The European Unions top climate change official, Miguel Arias Canente, said Trumps decision to leave the Paris accord made it a sad day for the global community and predicted that the EU would seek new alliances from the worlds largest economies to the most vulnerable island states, as well as US businesses and individuals supportive of the accord.

Fijis prime minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, who in November will chair an annual climate summit in Germany, said the decision was a grave disappointment for places such as his Pacific island nation and US coastal cities such as New York and Miami that are vulnerable to climate change.

Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea also regretted the US move and reiterated their commitment to implement the agreement. Former Mexican president Vicente Fox, who has often clashed with Trump, said on Twitter the US president was declaring war on the planet itself.

Trumps decision risks destabilising the Paris deal, with remaining participants faced with the choice of trying to make up the shortfall in emissions cuts or following the USs lead and abandoning the agreement. In 2015, nearly 200 countries agreed to curb greenhouse gas emissions in order to prevent the runaway climate change that would occur should temperatures spiral 2C or more above the pre-industrial era.

The US emissions reduction pledge accounts for a fifth of the global emissions to be avoided by 2030, with an analysis by not-for-profit group Climate Interactive showing that a regression to business as usual emissions by the US could warm the world by an additional 0.3C by 2100. This would help push global temperature rise well beyond 2C, causing punishing heatwaves, a rise in sea level, displacement of millions of people and the loss of ecosystems such as coral reefs.

Prof John Schellnhuber, a climate scientist and former adviser to the EU, Angela Merkel and the pope, said the US would be the loser from its withdrawal. China and Europe have become world leaders on the path towards green development already and will strengthen their position if the US slips back. The Washington people around Trump fail to recognise that the climate wars are over, while the race for sustainable prosperity is on.

Trump followed through with his campaign pledge to cancel US involvement in the Paris accord following months of conflicting signals over whether he would do so or just scale back the US ambition to cut emissions.

The withdrawal represents a victory for the nationalist elements in Trumps administration, such as his strategist Steve Bannon, who have argued the Paris deal undermines an America first approach, harms domestic coal production and hinders efforts to repeal Barack Obama-era regulations such as the Clean Power Plan.

Trump sought to frame his decision as part of this nationalist agenda. The Paris agreement handicaps the United States economy in order to win praise from the very foreign capitals and global activists that have long sought to gain wealth at our countrys expense, he said. They dont put America first. I do, and I always will.

The anti-agreement faction had jockeyed for Trumps favour over a rival school of thought, including the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and Ivanka Trump, the presidents daughter and adviser, that argued the US should remain in the Paris deal in order to preserve its diplomatic influence.

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