May isolated as Scottish charities and Europe damn Trump for Paris pullout

Charities air their displeasure at Trump pulling out of climate deal as May rejects chance to show united front with EU

TORY LEADER THERESA MAY faced isolation and criticism from charities and European nations condemning the president’s decision to pull out of the landmark Paris climate agreement and the PM’s reluctance to condemn the move.

European leaders and Scotland’s climate charities reacted with anger and defiance after Trump yesterday (Thursday 1 June) announced the US, the world’s second biggest carbon emitter, was quitting the 2015 Paris Agreement.

According to European civil servants, May rejected a request to put her government’s name to a joint EU letter and present a united European front to Trump, opting to conduct a solo phone call with the US president. Downing Street has gone on the record saying the UK remained committed to the deal but was clearly “disappointed”.

France’s President, Emmanuel Macron took the lead, lashing out at Trump’s decision as “misguided” and vowed to defend an accord they said was “crucial for the planet’s future”. But German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni also signed a joint letter express “dismay and concern” over the reversal by Trump.

“We note the United States’ decision with regret,” they said, describing the carbon-curbing accord as “a vital tool for our planet, our societies and our economies.”

WWF Scotland acting director Dr Sam Gardner said: “Yesterday’s announcement from the White House is extremely disappointing, as the US backs away from an unprecedented global agreement to tackle climate change. However, the world is making it very clear that the Paris Agreement will endure, and while the US withdrawal will impact our climate trajectory, it will not define its final outcome.

“While Trump tries to isolate the US from these opportunities, Europe, China and India are moving ahead with building clean energy economies, ditching climate-trashing fossil fuels and creating jobs. In fact, in 2016, renewable energy accounted for just under 10million jobs worldwide [2], while in Scotland there are now over 58,000 jobs in the low carbon and renewable energy sectors.

“The choices we make now will determine whether our planet can continue to sustain life as we know it.” Dr Richard Dixon

“With an upcoming Climate Change Bill, Scotland has the opportunity to be at the cutting edge of delivering the increased action and ambition that over 190 countries agreed to in the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Doing so would not only fulfil a moral obligation but open up multiple economic opportunities for Scotland.”

The Paris Agreement’s central aim was to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping global temperature rises below 2 degrees Celsius and encourage governments to develop new technologies.

In a TV broadcast made both in French and English, French President Emmanuel Macron said he believed that Trump decision had made a “historic mistake”, and invited frustrated US climate scientists and entrepreneurs to come and work in France.

“They will find in France a second homeland,” he said. “I call on them, come and work here with us, to work together on concrete solutions for our climate, our environment. I tell you firmly tonight: We will not renegotiate a less ambitious accord. There is no way.” In a cheeky repose Macron twisted Trump’s own nationalist slogan urging defenders of the climate to “make our planet great again”.

“While Trump tries to isolate the US from these opportunities, Europe, China and India are moving ahead with building clean energy economies, ditching climate-trashing fossil fuels and creating jobs.” Dr Sam Gardiner

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon criticised Theresa May for relying on the special relationship and described Donald Trump's act as "profoundly regrettable" and said it was an "appalling abdication of leadership by the PM".

Friends of the Earth Scotland's (FoES) Director Dr Richard Dixon added: “While Trump takes the US backwards, in Scotland we are looking to increase our ambition with a new climate bill expected later this year. We are living in what's been dubbed decade zero for the planet as we face the greatest crisis humanity has ever known.

“The choices we make now will determine whether our planet can continue to sustain life as we know it. In Scotland, we have a chance to demonstrate that it is possible to cut our carbon emissions and at the same time create a fairer and more equal society. With strong action on climate change, we can send a strong message of hope and do our fair share in the global community.”

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