Bonn (dpa) – The German Federal government has appealed to US President Donald Trump not to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change. “The fact that 195 countries agreed on binding targets is a huge achievement that shouldn’t be undermined,” Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for the Environment, told the German Press Agency at the start of a ten-day UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn. The agreement foresees limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius compared to preindustrial times.
Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, emphasized that the Paris Agreement enjoys “an incredible level of support” worldwide and will be implemented irrespective of the USA’s decision. Flasbarth noted that a renegotiation of the agreement is impossible: “Many countries have now ratified the agreement; it already constitutes binding international law.” Espinosa pointed out that accession countries could only raise, and not lower their climate targets.
Nonetheless, it is up to each individual country how it achieves this goal. If the US government wants to put more coal-fired power stations into operation at all costs, then it is conceivable that the resulting strain on the environment will be offset elsewhere, Flasbarth pointed out.
Environmentalists warned Trump against withdrawing from the agreement. “If the USA withdraws from an international agreement that it ratified just six months earlier, who can trust that government in future?” asked Greenpeace climate expert Karsten Smid. Oxfam’s Jan Kowalzig voiced the following critical opinion: “Whatever Donald Trump decides, be it to leave the treaty or to lower the US’s contribution to climate change mitigation, both measures can hardly be topped in terms of irresponsibility.”
Source: dpa; translation: FSM