President Donald Trump on Thursday said he will withdraw the United States from the landmark 2015 global agreement to fight climate change. Picture: Andrew Harnik/AP
President Donald Trump on Thursday said he will withdraw the United States from the landmark 2015 global agreement to fight climate change. Picture: Andrew Harnik/AP

Trump's #ParisAgreement pullout - what the experts say

By Laurie Goering Time of article published Jun 2, 2017

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London - US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull his country out of the

Paris Agreement on climate change will not derail action to curb

one of the most serious problems facing the planet, political

leaders, scientists, activists and other experts vowed on

Thursday.

But they warned that the decision could slow the pace of a

global switch to clean energy, putting more lives and billions

of dollars in investment at risk as climate change impacts –

from worsening droughts and floods to more rapid sea-level rise

– pick up pace.

It also is likely to further erode US leadership in the

world, with China and the European Union expected to take the

lead on global climate action - and will cost the United States

jobs in surging clean energy businesses, they said.

But with much of the on-the-ground action on climate change

taking place at the city and state level, as well as by

companies, Trump’s national decision may have less impact than

expected, mayors and economists said.

What remains unclear is how much influence the Trump

administration will now have on how the Paris Agreement is put

into action, starting in 2018, given that the United States’

exit from the accord cannot be immediate, experts said.

Here are key views on the decision from around the world:

ANDREW STEER, PRESIDENT, WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE

“Make no mistake: this is a reckless decision that is bad

for the world and even worse for the United States ... President

Trump has flushed away years of hard work and skillful

diplomacy, leaving Americans and future generations less secure

and more isolated in the face of this great global challenge.”

RAHM EMANUEL, MAYOR OF CHICAGO

"Reneging on the Paris Agreement is shortsighted and does

not make climate change any less real. From reducing our energy

use to expanding public transit, Chicago will not skirt our

responsibility to act.”

ANNE HIDALGO, MAYOR OF PARIS

“No matter what decision is made by the White House, cities

are honouring their responsibilities to implement the Paris

Agreement. There is no alternative for the future of our

planet."

MICHAEL BRUNE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SIERRA CLUB

"Donald Trump has made a historic mistake which our

grandchildren will look back on with stunned dismay.”

DAVE REAY, CHAIR IN CARBON MANAGEMENT, UNIVERSITY OF

EDINBURGH

“The United States will come to rue this day ... Climate

change knows no borders, its impacts are blind to national

flags. If global efforts to limit warming fail then we are all

in trouble. From climate change, Mr. President, you can run but

you can't hide.”

CLOVER MOORE, LORD MAYOR OF SYDNEY

“This summer broke countless heat records in Sydney. We’ve

seen coral bleaching in the harbour and the clock is ticking on

climate change. We want governments working with our cities,

supporting us, having policies of their own – but if not, we

need them to get out of the way and let us do what has to be

done.”

PAUL COOK, HEAD OF ADVOCACY, UK-BASED CHARITY TEARFUND

“We are seeing over 16 million people facing starvation in

the third year of drought in South Sudan and Ethiopia ... It is

disappointing that President Trump does not see the opportunity

for economic growth which clean energy presents - emerging

economies such as China and India are discovering how renewable

energy can be a catalyst for a booming economy, creating green

jobs and flourishing businesses, while reducing carbon

emissions.”

FRED KRUPP, PRESIDENT, ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND

"By abandoning our pledge, the president is lining up with

Syria and Nicaragua, the only nations in the world that have

refused to sign the agreement. He is giving away our good jobs

to Europe and China. He is weakening our position in business

deals and trade negotiations to come. And he is risking a global

economic backlash that will hurt American workers and businesses

even more."

TAYLOR DIMSDALE, HEAD OF RESEARCH AT E3G, AN ORGANISATION

PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

“Paris was a great deal for America. Pulling out of the

agreement would put the U.S. at a disadvantage in the

multi-trillion-dollar market for clean energy technologies,

while at the same time making the U.S. look untrustworthy to its

closest allies.”

JAMES RUBIN, PARTNER IN INTERNATIONAL LAW FIRM DORSEY &

WHITNEY, FORMERLY IN U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

“The decision to leave the Paris accords is essentially a

political statement, and one that is completely unnecessary and

very ill-advised ... U.S. continued participation in the accord

would basically come at no actual cost. The cost, however, for

withdrawal would be considerable – great harm to U.S. diplomacy,

trade and the global environment."

MARK MASLIN, PROFESSOR OF CLIMATOLOGY, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE

LONDON

“We have entered a world of fear and ignorance - when

science and well-being of humanity is ignored by the President

of the United States as it does not fit his world view ... It

shows a President out of touch with the exciting clean tech

innovations and developments in his own country which could lead

the world to a greener, cleaner, safer future.”

GREGOR ROBERTSON, MAYOR OF VANCOUVER

“Vancouver has the fastest-growing, most diverse economy in

Canada, and at the same time we’re successfully cutting our

climate pollution. We’re attracting world-leading businesses and

top talent thanks in part to our focus on building a 100 percent

renewably powered future. I stand in solidarity with U.S. mayors

as they continue working to achieve the goals of the Paris

Agreement, regardless of the reckless actions against climate at

the federal level.”

ANDREAS GOLDTHAU, DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRE OF INTERNATIONAL

PUBLIC POLICY, ROYAL HOLLOWAY, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON

“The Trump administration pulling out of the 2015 Paris

accord is bad news for the climate. But the United States

leaving the deal altogether is much better than staying in and

pushing for renegotiation. This would have meant years of

deadlock and lingering, with no global action on climate policy.

Leadership will now come from the EU and China.”

STEVE ADLER, MAYOR OF AUSTIN, TEXAS

"Austin will not stop fighting climate change. Worldwide,

cities will lead in achieving climate treaty goals because so

much of what’s required happens at the local level.”

NEIL THORNS, DIRECTOR OF ADVOCACY, CATHOLIC AID AGENCY CAFOD

“The plummeting cost of renewable energy, the growth of jobs

in the renewable energy industry, and the unequivocal call for

action from people worldwide mean that the momentum in the fight

to protect our common home is unstoppable.”

GABI HEGERL, CLIMATE SCIENCE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF

EDINBURGH

“I fear for the future of our children. Even more, I fear

for the future of children in developing countries, who have

contributed little to the problem and will feel the impacts

first. Where will they go?”

NICK DEARDEN, DIRECTOR, GLOBAL JUSTICE NOW

"(The United States) is now washing its hands of the

situation while billions of the world’s most vulnerable peoples

will face the fatal consequences of rising sea levels, drought,

desertification and failing crops. ... Global leaders should be

refusing to enter into trade negotiations with the United States

as a proportionate response to this supremely reckless act of

climate vandalism."

JONATHAN BAMBER, DIRECTOR OF THE BRISTOL GLACIOLOGY CENTRE,

UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL

"The momentum is so great and supported by so many nations

that it will be no more than an unwelcome bump in the road ...

Individual states such as California will carry on doing what

the rest of the world knows is the right thing to do on

combating climate change."

KELLE LOUAILLIER, PRESIDENT, CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY

INTERNATIONAL

“Governments around the world must see the U.S. for what it

is - a puppet of the fossil fuel industry."

FREDERIK DAHLMANN, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF GLOBAL ENERGY,

WARWICK BUSINESS SCHOOL

"The President’s decision ignores the very significant

shifts occurring in the global energy system. Combined with

other key economies’ desire to accelerate rather than to stop

these trends, politically the United States will find itself in

growing isolation, and face accusations of scientific ignorance

and moral irresponsibility.” 

Thomson Reuters Foundation

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