President Donald Trump faced a chorus of global disapproval Friday in the wake of his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, with allies and rivals uniting to accuse him of failing future generations.
Some of the fiercest criticism came from Europe, where many leaders had made personal appeals to Trump to stick with an accord backed by 195 nations.
Following Trump’s carefully stage-managed announcement, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni put out a joint statement in which they pledged to implement the Paris climate agreement notwithstanding the withdrawal of the US.
They also asserted that the US could not unilaterally renegotiate the 2015 agreement – contrary to a suggestion made by Trump during his Thursday announcement. The UN body that facilitated the deal said it “cannot be renegotiated based on the request of a single party.”
Macron decried Trump’s move in a live televised address, saying that “on the climate there is no plan B because there is no planet B” and that “we will not renegotiate a less ambitious deal.”
Switching to English, Macron threw one of Trump’s campaign slogans back at him, saying: “We all share the same responsibility to make our planet great again.”
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the decision was “a major fault against humanity and against our planet” and accused Trump of being “very arrogant because he says well, I don’t agree, so therefore everybody has to negotiate again.”
Speaking Friday in Berlin, Merkel called Trump’s decision “very regrettable.”
“The Paris agreement is one of the fundamental columns of the working together of world communities,” she said. “To everyone for whom the future of our planet is important, I say let’s continue going down this path so we’re successful for our Mother Earth.”
The US President also faced difficult phone calls with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and UK Prime Minister Theresa May following Thursday’s announcement.
According to the White House, Trump “personally explained the decision” and “reassured the leaders that America remains committed to the Transatlantic alliance and to robust efforts to protect the environment.”
The readout added: “He noted America’s strong record in reducing emissions and leading the development of clean energy technology, and he reiterated that the United States under the Trump Administration, will be the cleanest and most environmentally friendly country on Earth.”
Australia: ‘Disappointing but not surprising’
Trudeau made his feelings clear on Twitter. “We are deeply disappointed that the United States federal government has decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement,” he said. “Canada is unwavering in our commitment to fight climate change and support clean economic growth.”
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Thursday that Trump’s decision was “disappointing but not at all surprising,” since it was “entirely as expected and as predicted and as promised by him.”
Australia remains committed to the Paris Agreement and its own promises to cut emissions, he said.
China: ‘Global challenge’
China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, said it would stick by its commitments to the Paris agreement despite the US decision.
“Climate change is a global challenge and no country can stay away from it,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying. “The Paris Agreement is a hard-won outcome condensing the broadest consensus of the international community and setting up the direction and goals for global cooperative efforts to cope with climate change.”
China will continue to implement its vision for sustainable development and take steps to tackle climate change “no matter what position other countries shall take,” she said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum that he would not “judge” Trump for pulling out of the Paris accord but that he hoped the US would cooperate on climate change.
“Maybe he didn’t have to exit the Paris agreement, because it was only a framework. Maybe he could have simply changed the responsibilities of the United States within this framework. But what was said cannot be taken back,” he said.
“If the US will not work on this issue there will be no agreement. We have to take the situation at hand to work constructively on this issue.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also speaking in St Petersburg, said India would be a responsible nation with regards to climate change.
Asked about Trump’s decision, he declined to take “sides” but said, “we must not steal something that rightfully belongs to the next generation. We have to make sure that we must leave behind a beautiful, bountiful nature for our future generations so that they can live peacefully, they can breathe fresh air and live a good life.”
Brazil: ‘Profound concern’
Brazil expressed “profound concern and disappointment” with Trump’s decision to exit the climate agreement.
“Brazil is seriously concerned with the negative impact of such decision on the multilateral dialogue and cooperation to respond to global changes,” the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Environment said in a joint statement.
Former President Vicente Fox Quesada, a longtime critic of Trump, said the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement amounts to a declaration of war on the planet.
EU chief: No ‘reverse gear’
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told an EU-China summit Friday that there was no “reverse gear” on the Paris deal. He added that both China and the European Union are willing to lead the global effort to reduce carbon emissions, as the two powers signed an agreement pledging unity in fighting climate change.
Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that climate change is “one of the most serious issues we have to face in the future.”
If the United States doesn’t “want to tackle that responsibility, it’s pretty natural that we the European Union … will build partnerships with other people who have the same aim as us, which is being responsible for the future generations and saving the planet,” he said.
Sweden’s minister for foreign affairs, Margot Wallström, said Trump’s decision abandoned future generations.
She also warned that quitting the Paris accord meant missing out on future jobs and growth in the green economy. “The sustainability train has left the station,” she said.
Martin Schulz, leader of Germany’s Social Democratic Party, tweeted: “You can withdraw from a climate agreement but not from climate change, Mr. Trump. Reality isn’t just another statesman you shove away.” Trump faced criticism last week after he appeared to push aside the prime minister of Montenegro in order to move to the front of a group of NATO leaders.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he remained committed to working with other world cities to tackle emissions, cut pollution and protect public health. “We cannot overlook the fact that climate change remains one of the biggest environmental risks to humanity.”
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo called on Trump to reverse what she called a dramatic decision, adding: “If we want to avoid the most devastating effects of the climate crisis, the next four years are crucial. More than ever, we need American leadership in the face of this major challenge.”
Via Twitter, she announced that Paris’ City Hall would be illuminated green “to signify our determination to implement” the Paris accord.
CNN’s Sarah Chiplin, Nadeem Muaddi, Nadine Schmidt, Claudia Otto, Deborah Bloom, Nanling Fang, Simon Cullen, Hilary McGann, Sugam Pokharel, Tim Lister, Mick Krever and Lonzo Cook contributed to this report.