The US is slowly withdrawing from the Paris agreement, but the rest of the world’s not having it.
Last week, the European Union and China released a joint statement declaring their intentions to move on with the Agreement with or without America. They were clearly referring to just the Executive Branch, however, as now they’ve decided to work with US states and cities that are keen on cutting their carbon footprint by going over the President’s weirdly coiffed head.
“Strong transatlantic ties are far more important and far more durable than the latest unfortunate decisions of the new administration,” EU President Donald Tusk said at the end of an EU-China summit in Brussels, as per the Guardian.
Rebuffing Trump’s suggestion that the climate accords could be “renegotiated,” EU officials have decided to cut out the White House entirely, and will instead deal directly with Governors, mayors, and CEOs of major corporations. This will include the Climate Alliance, a growing bipartisan group of states that have vowed to uphold the terms of the accord.
The official statement also included the ambition of working even more closely with Canada, another nation that reacted defiantly to the Trump administration's recent decision.
At the same time, China and the EU have vowed to make sure that the Green Climate Fund – donations from wealthy nations to help poorer countries meet their carbon-cutting targets – will be maintained, despite America’s refusal to pay. By 2020, they will be paying $100bn a year into the fund, something that is essential for the survival of low-income nations.
“The decision of the United States to pull out of the Paris agreement is utterly regrettable, and I'm expressing myself in a very reserved way when I say that,” Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor, added, as per Reuters.
“This is why it is necessary now after this announcement by the US administration yesterday evening, to turn our attention to the future.”
At the same time, Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropic organization said that it will donate $15 million to the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – something the US government is still obliged to pay – that, among other things, helps coordinate the Paris Pact.
“We can’t wait for national governments to act on climate change,” Bloomberg noted on Twitter. “For solutions, look to cities.”
It’s a thrill to see that the rest of the world, and much of the US, is essentially defying the President on this overwhelmingly important issue.
Ignoring the vast population of the planet – who think that pulling out of the Paris accord is a disgraceful one at the very least – there has been a total of 159 reactions from senior politicians, media outlets and figureheads from around the world. Out of these, 137 are negative, 10 are neutral, and just 12 are positive.
Of those positive reactions, one comes from his own administration (Rick Perry, the Secretary of Energy), two come from Trump apologists Newt Gingrich and Paul Ryan, and the rest come from right-wing press or think tanks.
This reckless decision was one of the most roundly condemned political moves of the last few decades, and it’s not difficult to see why – the world wants to do something about climate change, as it’s an existential threat to a vast swath of the planet.
No wonder the EU is taking unprecedented steps to circumvent the federal government to get things done. Some issues are far more important than scoring political points, and saving the planet, thankfully, is one of them.