IN a press release today, Solomon Islands Prime Minister expresses his disappointment and dismay at the recent announcement by the President of the United States of America – Donald Trump on the intention of the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
In his press release, the PM said, “To date 195 countries have signed the Paris Agreement and 146 have ratified it. Solomon Islands stands in solidarity with the international community in reaffirming its commitment to the agreement.”
“Solomon Islands is located in a climate change hotspot where the impact is three times the global average. We have lost five islands and continue to deal with relocated populations due to sea level rise and natural disasters.”
“As a Small Islands Developing State and a Least Developed Country, we do not have the luxury to watch narrow interests get in the way of global action on climate change.”
“Climate change is a global issue that needs global action now. The Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals remain our last chance in creating a sustainable future for our people and humanity. We must not allow the Paris Agreement to fail.”
Fiji’s Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama, also has said Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement was deeply disappointing.
Mr Bainimarama who is president of the next major climate change talks, COP23, said it’s especially disappointing for people in vulnerable nations.
Mr Bainimarama said he did what he could to persuade Mr Trump otherwise but he’s encouraged by the commitment being shown by countries including China, India, and members of the European Union.
Meanwhile, in New Zealand, the Climate Change Research Institute director, David Frame, said Mr Trump’s decision was a “slap in the face for younger generations”, who would experience the costs of climate change.
Mr Frame has also commented (according to RNZI)
“But the defection of any one player – even the world’s second largest emitter – would not radically alter things. The US would still make progress on emissions reductions because natural gas was displacing coal.”
“Formally withdrawing from the process would take some time.”There are elements he can walk away from but there’s a delay on these things, he can’t actually just turn around and say ‘we’re out’ as of today completely.”
In the United States, Mayors and governors across the United States have said they will continue to honour the Paris Agreement.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday that his municipality would “take matters into our own hands”, calling the plan to pull out of the historic climate accord “a dagger aimed at the heart of New York City“.
Governor Jerry Brown of California earlier promised “significant action” if Trump pulled out of the accord.
In early May, the governors of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington all signed their own letter urging President Trump to honour the US commitment.
The letter said, “We stand ready as state leaders to continue to support the achievement of the existing US Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement—and if possible to go further, faster,” the letter read, in part. “The policies we are implementing that support the US’s achievement of its Paris commitment not only cut carbon pollution—they also create jobs, boost competitiveness, and bring clean energy and a cleaner environment to our citizens.”
The business community has got that message. In early May, 25 major US companies, including Apple, Facebook, Gap, Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intel Corporation, Mars Incorporated, Microsoft; Morgan Stanley, National Grid, Schneider Electric and Unilever took out full-page ads in several newspapers featuring yet another letter, also expressing support for the accord.
The US is responsible for 25 to 30 percent of global emissions. Globally, 70 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions come from urban areas, so the efforts of individual cities—and, by extension, states—can have a significant impact on their reduction.
California and New York together represent about 20 percent of the nation’s population, as well as 20 percent of its gross domestic product. Together they account for roughly 10 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions.
The determination of cities and states to continue the fight against climate change will have a mitigating effect on Trump’s decision to withdraw from the accord.