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CLIMATE SCIENCE
World leaders vow to defend climate pact after Trump pullout
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) June 2, 2017


EU, China grab spotlight in climate fight after US quits Paris deal
Brussels (AFP) June 2, 2017 - Dismayed EU and Chinese leaders meet Friday at a Brussels summit in a bid to fill a void in the global push to fight climate change left by the US pullout from the Paris pact.

In a potentially dramatic shift in diplomatic roles, the European Union now aims to join heavyweight China in trying to galvanise the world into implementing the landmark 2015 agreement -- but minus the planet's second biggest carbon polluter.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang are vowing to forge ahead with the Paris agreement without the US when they meet in Brussels Friday morning.

Juncker denounced as "seriously wrong" US President Donald Trump's shock announcement Thursday to pull out of the deal that his predecessor Barack Obama and Chinese leaders had been instrumental in brokering.

Echoing earlier remarks from his boss, EU commissioner for climate action and energy, Miguel Arias Canete, pledged continued "global leadership" on climate change.

Trump's "announcement has galvanised us rather than weakened us, and this vacuum will be filled by new broad committed leadership," Canete said.

"Europe and its strong partners all around the world are ready to lead the way," the Spanish commissioner said on the eve of the summit.

In talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Thursday, Li said it was in China's own interest to press ahead "steadfastly" with the Paris deal, and urged other countries to do likewise.

China, the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter, has been investing billions in clean energy infrastructure, as its leaders battle to clear up the notorious choking pollution enveloping its biggest cities, including Beijing.

China and the US, the second biggest polluter, are together responsible for some 40 percent of the world's emissions and experts had warned that it is vital for both to remain in the Paris agreement if it is to have any chance of succeeding.

But Canete said the EU will work with existing partners and forge new alliances, including with the world's largest economies as well as the many US citizens, businesses and communities that support the Paris agreement.

- 'Significantly intensify' -

The Paris agreement commits signatories to efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, which is blamed for melting ice caps and glaciers, rising sea levels and more violent weather events.

They vowed steps to keep the worldwide rise in temperatures "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial times and to "pursue efforts" to hold the increase under 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Juncker has noted that it would take three or four years to exit the Paris deal, and revealed that world leaders had tried in vain to explain that to Trump at the G7 summit a week ago.

A draft joint summit statement seen by AFP said the EU and Chinese leaders will stress "their highest political commitment" into implementing all aspects of the Paris deal.

"The EU and China consider the Paris Agreement as an historic achievement further accelerating the irreversible global low greenhouse gas emission and climate resilient development," the nine-page draft said.

They vow to "significantly intensify" their political, technical, economic and scientific cooperation on climate change and clean energy to help the world shift to an economy based on low greenhouse gas emissions.

Hoping to make the climate fight a "main pillar" of their bilateral partnership, including economic ties, the two underlined that their cooperation will fuel job creation, investments and economic growth, the statement said.

World leaders reacted with anger and defiance after President Donald Trump on Thursday announced the United States, the world's second biggest carbon emitter, was quitting the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

With France's Emmanuel Macron taking the lead, they lashed Trump's decision as misguided and vowed to defend an accord they portrayed as crucial for the planet's future.

In an exceptional step, continental Europe's three biggest economies -- Germany, France and Italy -- issued a joint statement to criticise Trump's move and slap away his offer of renegotiating the deal.

"We note the United States' decision with regret," they said, describing the carbon-curbing accord as "a vital tool for our planet, our societies and our economies."

"We are firmly convinced that the agreement cannot be renegotiated," they added, referring to Trump's announcement that Washington was open to negotiating a new agreement.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Trump to express his disappointment at the decision, but said he was inspired by "the growing momentum around the world to combat climate change and transition to clean growth economies".

Mexican ministers said the world had a "moral imperative" to live up to the commitments made in the Paris climate pact, while Brazil's foreign ministry said it was concerned and disappointed by Washington's move.

Venezuela and Argentina also denounced the decision.

Fiji's Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, who will serve as president of UN climate talks in Germany later this year, labelled Trump's announcement "deeply disappointing".

"While the loss of America's leadership is unfortunate, this is a struggle that is far from over," he said.

In unusually strong comments, Japanese environment minister Koichi Yamamoto said: "It's as if they've turned their back on the wisdom of humanity.

"In addition to being disappointed, I'm also angry."

- 'Make our planet great again' -

In France, the Elysee presidential palace said newly elected leader Macron had phoned Trump to say that "nothing was negotiable" in the Paris agreement.

France and the United States "would continue to work together," but not on climate change, it said.

In a TV broadcast made both in French and English, Macron said he believed that Trump had made a historic mistake, and invited frustrated US climate scientists and entrepreneurs to come and work in France.

"They will find in France a second homeland," he said. "I call on them, come and work here with us, to work together on concrete solutions for our climate, our environment."

And cheekily adapting the nationalist slogan used by Trump on his election campaign trail, Macron urged defenders of the climate to "make our planet great again."

Trump said America was "getting out" of a deal he said imposed "draconian" burdens costing millions of US jobs and billions of dollars.

The pact was "very unfair" to the United States and beneficial to other major polluters like China and India, the president claimed.

In Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed regret at the decision, and called for a continuation of "climate policies which preserve our world".

In London, British Prime Minister Theresa May told Trump that the climate accord was a safety net for future generations, Downing Street said.

"The Paris Agreement provides the right global framework for protecting the prosperity and security of future generations, while keeping energy affordable and secure for our citizens and businesses," May told Trump by phone, it said in a statement.

New Zealand's Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett said that "so much of what (Trump) said is wrong", arguing that America was not paying a disproportionate cost to be part of the deal.

Australia's Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the agreement was meaningful even without Washington's participation.

- Green anger -

Among environmental groups, Climate Action Network said the withdrawal "signals that the Trump Administration is in total discord with both reality and the rest of the world."

"Unfortunately, the first to suffer from this injudicious decision is the American people," the group, an alliance of climate activists, said.

"This action is totally contrary to their best interests: their health, security, food supply, jobs and future."

Oxfam France branded the decision as "shameful and irresponsible, scorning people and world peace."

Among the scientific community, Britain's prestigious Royal Society said Trump's decision would hamper US innovation in cleaner technology.

"The future is in newer, cleaner and renewable technologies, not in fossil fuels," said the society's president, Venki Ramakrishnan.

"Such technologies will also help in our fight against air pollution and ensure greater energy security globally. President Trump is not putting America first, he is tethering it to the past."

Paris withdrawal sets business world at odds with Trump
Washington (AFP) June 2, 2017 - Captains of industry, corporations and business groups distanced themselves from the White House on Thursday, as many expressed frustration with President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

The reactions from across the business world -- including oil producers, the tech sector and finance -- stood apart from Trump's portrayal of the decision as a needed corrective to rules that could stymie commerce.

Tesla founder Elon Musk confirmed he would quit White House advisory councils on business in protest.

"Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world," Musk wrote on Twitter shortly after Trump's announcement.

Disney chief Robert Iger followed suit, saying he was resigning from the panels "as a matter of principle."

Other tech and industrial sector representatives expressed frustration with the White House's decision and pledged to continue working to combat global warming.

"Disappointed with today's decision on the Paris Agreement," Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric, wrote on Twitter. "Industry must now lead and not depend on government."

The Information Technology Industry Council was equally scathing.

"This is clearly disappointing, and a setback for America's leadership in the world," ITI President Dean Garfield said in a statement.

"Despite this, the tech industry's determination to innovate and problem-solve for the threats posed by climate change and generate clean energy opportunities that create jobs and grow our economy remains unchanged."

In his first ever tweet, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein called the decision a "setback" for the environment and for US global leadership.

The statement created clashing appearances, with several former Goldman bankers having taken on important roles in the administration, including former Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn, who was present for Trump's announcement in the White House Rose Garden.

- Big oil opposed -

Oil supermajors ExxonMobil and Chevron reiterated their support for the endangered agreement, while automaker General Motors said the White House's decision would not lessen its resolve on the climate.

"GM will not waver from our commitment to the environment and our position on climate change has not changed," the company said in a statement.

"International agreements aside, we remain committed to creating a better environment."

Chevron spokeswoman Melissa Ritchie said her company "supports continuing with the Paris Agreement as it offers a first step towards a global framework."

The accord aligns with the company's own policy on carbon emissions, she said.

An Exxon spokesman said the 2015 accord was "critical" given the rising emissions from India and China.

"It's the first major international accord to address climate change that includes emissions reduction pledges from both developed and developing economies," he told AFP.

"We believe that the United States is well positioned to compete within the framework of the Paris agreement."

The US Chamber of Commerce, a business lobby that had long criticized the prior Obama administration's energy policies, said had it had not taken a position on the Paris Agreement but favored policies that both promoted energy production and protected the environment.

"America should choose a path for an energy future that is achievable, affordable and most importantly meaningful," the organization said in a statement.

Matt Sonnesyn, vice president of the Business Roundtable, which includes the heads of major US corporations, said the private sector was part of the solution to climate change.

"Business Roundtable CEOs have long held the view that the consequences of climate change are potentially serious and far-reaching," Sonnesyn said.

On Wednesday, a group of major US companies including Apple, Facebook, Gap, Google and Unilever signed off on a plea for the US to keep participating in the climate deal.

"Dear President Trump, as some of the largest companies based or operating in the United States, we strongly urge you to keep the United States in the Paris Agreement," the letter read.

CLIMATE SCIENCE
With or without Trump, US businesses moving on climate
Washington (AFP) May 31, 2017
President Donald Trump may be dragging out his decision on whether to ditch the Paris climate agreement, but major American corporations have not waited for a government signal to start cutting their carbon emissions. Before Trump had even raised the possibility of scrapping US involvement in the landmark 2015 treaty, Coca-Cola and the engineering giant General Electric already had pledged t ... read more

Related Links
Climate Science News - Modeling, Mitigation Adaptation


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