Countries, including the United States, have pledged to curb emissions under the deal by moving to renewable energy sources.
Nations, businesses and Washington’s top diplomat urged president-elect Donald Trump today not to withdraw the US from the climate-rescue Paris Agreement and its commitments to preserve Earth for future generations.
US Secretary of State John Kerry underlined the perils that await the world if leaders drag their feet on cutting planet-warming greenhouse gases, while poor nations and small-island states highlighted their own vulnerability to the predicted climate catastrophe.
“At some point even the strongest sceptic has to acknowledge that something disturbing is happening,” Kerry said at a UN climate conference in Marrakesh, just a week after Trump’s election to the White House. Before his election, the business tycoon called climate change a “hoax” perpetrated by China and vowed to “cancel” the hard-fought Paris Agreement concluded last year to limit dangerous global warming.
The Marrakesh meeting has started to draft a roadmap for putting the agreement’s goals into action, but many fear a Trump administration would destroy political momentum built up over years of tough negotiations, imperilling the very goals of the global pact. Kerry stressed today that “climate change should not be a partisan issue”.
“No one has the right to make decisions affecting billions of people based solely on ideology without proper input,” he added. Major companies joined the chorus, calling for “continuation of low-carbon policies” and investment in a low-carbon economy.
“We call on our elected US leaders to strongly support… continued US participation in the Paris Agreement,” said an open letter signed by more than 360 companies and investors, mainly American, including a dozen Fortune 500 firms.
The Paris pact sets the goal of limiting average global warming to 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-Industrial Revolution levels, by cutting greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels.
Countries, including the United States, have pledged to curb emissions under the deal by moving to renewable energy sources. But Trump has vowed to boost oil, gas and coal. “Time is not on our side,” warned Kerry, who has made the fight against global warming a hallmark of his tenure. “The world is already changing at an increasingly alarming rate with increasingly alarming consequences.”
Thoriq Ibrahim, environment minister of the Maldives, said the time for action was running out “especially for small island states whose very existence is threatened by powerful storms, poisoned oceans, and rising seas”