05 Nov 2019, 13:52
Benjamin Wehrmann

German ministers regret US withdrawal from Paris Agreement

Clean Energy Wire

Ministers from Germany have voiced their regret over the US government's decision to start the formal withdrawal process from the landmark 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. "Given that the government of  [US President Donald] Trump has announced it two years ago, this formal step is no surprise. The withdrawal is regrettable but fortunately it has remained a solo attempt. The domino effect that some had feared at the time did not set in," said environment minister Svenja Schulze, adding that Russia's decision to join the agreement meant that almost the whole world has committed to it. Schulze said that also in the US there was an "unbroken drive" at the sub-national level to act on climate change and to strive for new economic opportunities that climate action offers. Development cooperation minister Gerd Müller said the US's withdrawal was "a setback for international climate action”, stressing that industrialised states have a special responsibility for limiting the effects of global warming that they themselves have contributed to most. Müller warned that only a handful of signatories to the agreement are on track to achieving its goals. "Those who are suffering are the people living in developing countries, where climate change has long arrived."

President Donald Trump announced that the US, the world's second largest emitter of CO2, would leave the Paris Agreement in June 2017 but submitting a withdrawal is legally possible only three years after the accord has entered into effect, meaning by November 2019. The withdrawal will take effect one year later. Of 197 countries that are part of the UN's climate change framework, 187 have ratified the Paris Agreement. Nations that have not yet done so include Libya, Yemen, South Sudan and Iraq. In the US, 24 states have committed themselves to continuing their activities in line with the Paris Agreement's goals.

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