Paris Climate Agreement: India, China, EU to lead battle against global warming, say environmentalists

New Delhi: The Trump administration's decision to pull out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement on Friday drew global criticism from environmental advocates who said India, China and the European Union (EU) will now lead the battle against climate change.

The secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the foundational agreement under which the Paris accord was negotiated, clarified that the pact "cannot be re-negotiated based on the request of a single party".

Citizens protest against US president Trump's decision to exit the Paris Climate agreement in Berlin. AP

Citizens protest against US president Donald Trump's decision to exit the Paris Climate Agreement in Berlin. AP

The US move to leave the Paris agreement will not stop its incredible momentum, UN Environment chief Erik Solheim said. He said China, India, the European Union and others were already showing strong leadership.

Committing to climate action means helping countries like Iraq and Somalia on the frontline of extremism and terrorism, he said. "It means helping coastal communities from Louisiana to the Solomon Islands."

Under the Paris Agreement, all nations have agreed to combat climate change and to unleash actions and investment towards a low carbon, resilient and sustainable future that will keep a global average temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius with the accepted international aim of working to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The UNFCCC said "it stands ready to engage in dialogue with the US regarding the implications of this announcement".

European Union Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said the Trump announcement had galvanized the world rather than weaken it.

"The world can continue to count on Europe for global leadership in the fight against climate change. The EU will strengthen its existing partnerships and seek new alliances from the world's largest economies to the most vulnerable island states.

"This vacuum will be filled by new broad committed leadership. Europe and its strong partners all around the world are ready to lead the way. We will work together to face one of the most compelling challenges of our time," Canete added.

For Fijian prime minister and incoming President of Conference of the Parties (COP 23) Frank Bainimarama, the decision disappointed everyone, especially the climate vulnerable nations.

He said he was especially encouraged by the commitment shown by China, India, the European Union, Canada, Mexico and the vast majority of other nations to lower emissions.

President Donald Trump speaks about the US role in the Paris climate accord on Thursday. AP

President Donald Trump speaks about the US role in the Paris climate accord on Thursday. AP

"They will continue to lead this process, with or without the support of the Trump administration, but with the knowledge and assurance that many ordinary Americans support participation in the Paris Agreement."

Tim Buckley of the US-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis foresees India and China as leaders to lead the world towards a low-carbon economy - a step towards achieving the 2015 Paris pact aim of cutting greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels.

"We view China and India as the two most important countries globally in terms of momentum in energy market transformation. Both are achieving economic growth rate of more than double of the US; and both are looking to show global leadership in terms of clean energy technology deployment, investment and financial capital," he said.

UNEP executive director Solheim had previously said climate action would continue in the US even if Washington withdraws.

"There is the US private sector. Companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Walmart and Tesla are true global leaders when it comes to bringing down their carbon footprints. Even coal and oil companies are stepping up their shift to renewables. They are doing so because it's sound business and they want to remain competitive globally," he told IANS.

"China and India do not depend on the US — nor any other country — to set their own policies.

"And what we are seeing at the moment is significant steps from both Beijing and New Delhi to put their economies on a path of sustainable, inclusive and low-carbon growth because it makes perfect strategic and business sense to do so."

Updated Date: Jun 02, 2017 19:24 PM

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