Germany, France, Italy tell Trump Paris agreement is not renegotiable

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   June 2, 2017 at 7:37 AM
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June 2 (UPI) -- Germany, France and Italy said the 2015 Paris climate change agreement "cannot be renegotiated" after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would withdraw from the deal.

Trump announced his decision to leave the accord Thursday. He has previously called climate change a "hoax" and indicated he was leaving the agreement, saying it's a "bad deal" for the U.S. economy.

"We're getting out, but we will start to negotiate and see if we can make a deal that's fair," Trump said. "If we can, great -- if we can't, that's fine."

Trump cited a study by the National Economic Research Associates -- funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Council for Capital Formation -- which said the accord would cost 2.7 million jobs and a loss of nearly $3 trillion in gross domestic product. That study was based on a scenario in which the United States would cut 26 percent to 28 percent of emissions by 2025, and did not factor in the possible benefits of battling climate change.

But three world leaders -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni -- released a joint statement rejecting Trump's claim that the deal can be renegotiated.

"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 wrote.

World leaders from a number countries have reacted with disappointment to Trump's decision to withdraw from the agreement. In 2015, 195 countries, including the United States, adopted the Paris agreement.

In a televised address, Macron said Trump "committed an error for the interests of his country, his people and a mistake for the future of our planet."

"I tell you firmly tonight: We will not renegotiate a less ambitious accord. There is no way," Macron said. "Don't be mistaken on climate; there is no plan B because there is no planet B."

The Vatican said Trump's withdrawal was a "huge slap in the face" for Pope Francis and a "disaster for everyone".

The British government issued a statement indicating Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her "disappointment" to Trump over his decision.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his disappointment to Trump in a telephone call but Trudeau said he has been inspired by "growing momentum around the world to combat climate change and transition to clean growth economies".

The Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's administration was committed to the Paris agreement.

"The Turnbull government is disappointed that the United States has notified that it will withdraw from this important international agreement," the ministry said in a statement.

Japan's foreign ministry said the Trump administration decision "is regrettable," while 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," Yamamoto said.

Within the Trump administration, though, there was praise for Trump's decision. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt thanked Trump for his "courage and commitment" after the announcement.

"Your decision today to exit the Paris Accord reflects your unflinching commitment to put America First. And by exiting, you are fulfilling yet one more campaign promise to the American people," Pruitt said. "America finally has a leader who answers only to the people -- not the special interests who have had their way for much too long. In everything you do, you are fighting for the forgotten men and women of America. You are the champion for hardworking citizens all across this land who just want a government that puts their needs first."

"Our efforts should be on exporting our technology and innovation to nations who seek to reduce their CO2 footprint -- to learn from us. That should be our focus versus agreeing to unachievable targets that harm our economy and the American people," Pruitt added.

While at last week's G7 conference in Italy, the leaders of France, Japan, Canada, Britain and Italy all urged the United States to remain in the climate deal.

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the EU's European Commission said he attempted to persuade Trump to remain in the accord during the recent G7 meeting in Italy.

"Our commitment to the Paris Agreement is unshakeable. We will continue to lead the fight against climate change," Juncker said in a statement. "Deeply disappointed by U.S. decision, despite our efforts at G7. Against what we stand for, contrary to what the world expects."

The United States is the world's second-largest carbon polluter, following China. The agreement attempts to curb global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. The other two countries not currently supporting the deal are Nicaragua and Syria.

The deal is partly legally binding and partly voluntary. All countries will be required to take some action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of economic development, by 2020.

Key points in the agreement include peaking greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and achieving a balance between sources of energy in the second half of this century. The process will be reviewed every five years and a $100 billion a year climate finance fund for developing countries is expected to be established by 2020 with further financing in the future.

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