2 June 2017: Reactions from UN constituted bodies, international and non-governmental organizations, NGOs and high-level officials to US President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change have ranged from expressions of “deep regret” and “major disappointment” to reaffirmations of commitment to “tackle the climate challenge.”
While many lament the US’ decision of 1 June 2017 to leave the Paris Agreement, UN Environment Executive Director Erik Solheim captured a common sentiment by noting that it “in no way brings an end” to the “unstoppable effort” of climate action.
In his statement, Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji and Incoming President of the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UNFCCC, highlighted the commitment being shown by China, India, the EU, Canada, Mexico and the “vast majority of other nations.”
In an open letter to the international community titled, ‘We Are Still In,’ US state, local and business leaders declared their continued support for climate action and the Paris Agreement “no matter what policies Washington may adopt.”
At a press encounter in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged governments to “stay the course” and remain committed to climate action. He also expressed his conviction that US federal states, cities, the business community and the civil society, will remain engaged and “bet on the green economy.”
In their statement, 211 US “Climate Mayors” announce that they will “adopt, honor and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement.” They pledge to intensify efforts to meet their cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the target of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels, and work together towards a clean energy economy.
To address the funding gap resulting from the US’ announced withdrawal, Mike Bloomberg, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, announced a commitment of up to US$15 million to support the operations of the UNFCCC Secretariat, including its work to assist countries with Paris Agreement implementation.
In its statement on the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the UNFCCC Secretariat notes the announced intention to renegotiate the modalities for the US participation in the Paris Agreement and indicates readiness to “engage in dialogue with the US Government regarding the implications of this announcement.” The Secretariat also notes that since the Paris Agreement is a “historic treaty signed by 195 Parties and ratified by 146 countries plus the EU,” “it cannot be renegotiated based on the request of a single Party.”
The Paris Agreement on climate change was agreed in December 2015 and entered into force in November 2016. It aims to strengthen the global response to climate change in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty. [UN Press Release on UN Secretary-General Urging Commitment to Climate Action] [UN Secretary-General’s Remarks on Climate Change at Press Encounter in Saint Petersburg] [Statement Attributable to Spokesman for Secretary-General on US Decision to Withdraw from Paris Agreement] [UN Secretary-General’s Message on Climate Action] [UN Press Release on US’ Withdrawal from Paris Agreement] [UNFCCC Statement on US’ Decision to Withdraw from Paris Agreement] [Statement by Prime Minister of Fiji and Incoming COP 23 President Frank Bainimarama] [Announcement of Financial Pledge by Mike Bloomberg] [UN Environment Statement on US Decision to Leave Paris Agreement] [UNRIC Press Release] [World Bank Statement Reaffirming Commitment to Climate Action] [We Are Still In Open Letter and Press Release] [Statement from 211 US Climate Mayors] [IUCN Director General’s Statement on US Announcement in Regard to Paris Agreement] [IISD Reaction to US’ Rejection of Paris Agreement] [Decision 1/CP.21 Adopting Paris Agreement]
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