Madrid: Donald Trump should stand "on the right side of history" by reconsidering the decision to pull the US out of the Paris Accord, former United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon said. "If the US withdraws, this has a much bigger political impact. I'm afraid that any leadership vacuum could be filled by others, and this is not what we want to see," Ban said, in an interview with AP.
He called the choice made by the US president "misguided" and said that it responded to "a short-term vision". He also called on the public to raise its voice and said that commitment to the agreement from governors, mayors, business leaders and civil society in the US was "very encouraging".
For almost a decade, Ban spearheaded negotiations to combat climate change that eventually led to the pledge of keeping global temperatures from raising another degree Celsius by 2100. Nearly 200 countries, including the US, signed the agreement in December 2015.
"I sincerely hope that President Trump stands on the right side of history," Ban said in Madrid.
As the world's largest economy, the US is also the planet's number one polluter, accounting for 14 percent of global emissions.
"The decision has implications and effects politically and psychologically much larger than 14 percent, because smaller countries have traditionally followed Washington's leadership" said Ban, calling on the US leader to show "global vision".
Ban joined more than 50 former world leaders who criticised the current US administration's view on climate change and warned of "unpredictable and possibly regrettable" consequences. They also called on other signatories of the Paris agreement to "show greater urgency and commitment in the fight against global warming".
The leaders represented about half of the members of the Club de Madrid alliance, which Ban joined recently as an honorary member.
Among the signatories were former Chilean president and former UN envoy for climate change Ricardo Lagos, Nobel Peace
Prize winner, and former East Timor leader Jose Manuel Ramos-Horta and former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark, who also headed the UN's development agency.
Updated Date: Jun 15, 2017 09:39 AM