Global leaders and business heads react to Trump's Paris pullout
The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21, laid the framework for an ambitious global action plan to counteract climate change. The conference culminated in the Paris Accord, a global pact wherein 195 countries pledged to curb greenhouse gases emissions and switch to cleaner energy.
However, less than two years later, the future of the Paris Accord is now shrouded in uncertainty after US President Donald J. Trump officially stated that the US would pull out of the agreement.
The move is significant as the US is responsible for one-fifth of global emissions. Only two other countries - Syria and Nicaragua - are not signatories of the Paris Accord, with Nicaragua refusing to sign because the agreement didn't do enough.
Trump comes under fire
Trump's decision has been met with widespread criticism, with US politicians, world leaders, and captains of industry all coming forward to decry his decision. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni issued a joint statement on the matter.
“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 three stated.
Macron went even further, putting out a video that exhibited calm and resolve, even as he took a potshot at Trump's 'Make America great again' slogan.
Closer to the US, Enqrique Peña Nieto, the President of Mexico stated, “Mexico maintains its support and commitment to the Paris agreement to stop the effects of global climate change.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, also called Trump to convey his dejection 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”.
The Vatican said a US pullout represented a “huge slap in the face” for the pope, and a “disaster for everyone”. Trump had only just met the pope who had expressed his views on the importance of protecting the environment from climate change.
Asia wasn't to be left out, too. The Japanese foreign ministry issued a statement saying, “Climate change requires a concerted effort by the whole of the international community. Japan believes the leadership of the developed countries to be of great importance, and the steady implementation of the Paris agreement is critical in this regard. The recent announcement by the US administration on its withdrawal … is regrettable.”
The Japanese Environment Minister Koichi Yamamoto also went further, adding, “It’s as if they’ve turned their back on the wisdom of humanity.
Actor and former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzanegger also weighed in on the move in a scathing video:
Big Business bins Trump
Business leaders too condemned Trump's decision. The CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, Elon Musk, tweeted this:
Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2017
Microsoft President Brad Smith also spoke up, saying the company was “disappointed” with the decision:
We’re disappointed with the decision to exit the Paris Agreement. Microsoft remains committed to doing our part to achieve its goals.— Brad Smith (@BradSmi) June 1, 2017
Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric said businesses can’t depend on the government when it comes to climate change, showing GE's resolve to self-regulate:
Disappointed with today’s decision on the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government.— Jeff Immelt (@JeffImmelt) June 1, 2017
IBM released a statement that it will continue to “reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions and will continue to help our clients do so as well.”
The CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, also tweeted:
Disappointed with today’s decision. Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all.— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) June 1, 2017
Environmentalists described the decision as a “hugely disappointing” mistake, with even youth groups accusing Trump ofjeopardising their future.