French President Emmanuel Macron has said “there is no Plan B” on climate change, declaring that “there is no way” that France will negotiate a less ambitious climate deal after US President Donald Trump announced he is withdrawing America from the Paris accord.
The leaders of France, Germany and Italy issued a joint statement saying they regretted Mr Trump's decision to pull out of the agreement, which was designed to avoid catastrophic levels of climate change fuelled by human activity.
The UK reportedly declined to put its name to the statement, but the Prime Minister, Theresa May, said she had phoned the President to express her "disappointment" at the decision.
In an English-language speech from the presidential palace, unprecedented from a French president in an address at home, Mr Macron said: "I do respect this decision but I do think it is an actual mistake both for the US and for our planet."
In a riff on Mr Trump's pledge to 'Make America Great Again', Mr Macron added: "Wherever we live, whoever we are, we all share the same responsibility: make our planet great again."
Calling the President’s decision “a mistake” for the US as well as the planet, Mr Macron urged climate change scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to go to France to continue their work. “They will find in France a second homeland,” Mr Macron said.
“I call on them,” he added. “Come and work here with us, work together on concrete solutions for our climate, our environment. I can assure you, France will not give up the fight.”
In his announcement at the White House, Mr Trump said he wants to “renegotiate” a fairer deal that would not disadvantage US businesses and workers.
The President said that by pulling out of the pact – which has been signed by almost 200 nations – he is keeping his campaign promise to stop international agreements that he believes disadvantage the US.
He said that “if we can get a deal, that's great. If not, that's fine.”
Earlier, France had released a rare joint statement with Italy and Germany that dismissed Mr Trump’s suggestion that the Paris accord could be altered.
“We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies,” the leaders of the three countries said.
That statement followed a swift outcry from politicians including the former US President Barack Obama – whose administration negotiated the deal.
The EU's top climate change official, Miguel Arias Canente, said in a statement that Mr Trump's decision to leave the Paris accord made it "a sad day for the global community," adding that the bloc "deeply regrets the unilateral decision."
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the US withdrawal "a major disappointment" and said it was "crucial that the US remains a leader on environmental issues," according to his spokesman.
In November, Fiji's Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama will be in Germany to chair the UN's annual climate summit. He said Mr Trump's decision was a grave disappointment for places like his Pacific island nation and US coastal cities like New York and Miami that are vulnerable to climate change.
He said he was deeply disappointed by Mr Trump's decision and did what he could to try to persuade Mr Trump to stick with the agreement as nations tackle "the greatest challenge our planet has ever faced". He said he was convinced the US will eventually rejoin.
Before Trump announced his decision Thursday afternoon, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told reporters during a visit to Berlin that fighting global warming was a "global consensus" and an "international responsibility."
Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea also regretted the US move and reiterated their commitment to implement the agreement.
Speaking in Tokyo the Japanese finance minister, Taro Aso, angrily suggested the decision showed America's chronic failure to commit. He compared Mr Trump's move to America's historic role in establishing the abortive League of Nations after the First World War. He described a pattern of the US helping set up initiatives before dropping out of them, adding: "I think that's just how they are."
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