Amid US doubt, United Nations chief says climate deal essential, 'get on board'

31 Mai, 2017, 14:17 | Author: Come Portier

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres has said that climate change is "undeniable" and urged world leaders to "stay the course" even if a government "doubts" the need for the historic Paris deal, in a possible reference to US President Donald Trump who has vowed to withdraw from the deal.

He then tweeted that he would make an announcement this week. The United Nations accord, signed by 195 nations in late 2015, aims to limit global average temperature change to 2°C this century.

Reportedly, Trump has even told EPA administrator Scott Pruitt that he plans to remove the USA from the agreement, a decision of which Pruitt most certainly approves. By contrast, Trump wants to favor USA coal.

Mr Guterres made no direct mention of Mr Trump's wavering, but said: "If any government doubts the global will and need for this accord, that is reason for all others to unite even stronger and stay the course".

White House economic adviser Gary Cohn told reporters last week that Trump would prioritize economic growth over global warming if the two came into conflict. A White House spokesperson said the president has not yet made a decision, but will do so this week.

But complying with the Paris agreement means phasing out fossil fuels - industries Trump promised to boost during his presidential campaign. The accord includes a withdrawal process that would take until at least November 2020 to complete, and in that time, Trump could change his mind.

The G7 summit in Taormina ended in a stalemate, with US President Donald Trump failing to submit to sustained pressure from other world leaders to back the Paris Agreement on climate change.

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If Trump pulls out of the accord, the US would become largest greenhouse gas emitter not included in the 2015 pact agreed upon by almost 200 countries to curb climate-changing carbon emissions. Because the power sector is likely to play a key role in decarbonizing other sectors, GHG cuts for electricity generation would likely need to be even deeper, approaching zero net carbon by 2050.

However, whether or not the US withdraws is unclear.

There is an assumption in Canberra and Washington that Mr Trump will at least try to renegotiate parts of the deal, such as possibly by weakening former president Barack Obama's voluntary pledge to cut United States carbon emissions by 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2025. "But even if the USA government decides to leave the Paris agreement, it's very important for the U.S. societies as a whole, for the cities, the states, the companies, the business to remain engaged with the Paris agreement - so it is very clear that governments are not everything".

But his closest staff is riven, and last week 22 Republican senators wrote to Trump imploring him to exit Paris.

The EPA is now reviewing the Clean Power Plan and other air pollution regulations, and a court case over the rule is on hold.

"There are many good arguments that in my opinion should lead an administration that has a concern to put its own interests first, and the interests of its people and its country first, to invest in what is necessary to preserve the global reach of its economy and to preserve the security of its citizens", Guterres said, alluding to Trump's "America First" policy.


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