Earth to Trump: You Are On Your Own

The overwhelming global response to President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement was essentially, “Go jump in a lake”—or as one Germany tabloid succinctly phrased it in a widely circulated headline:

Following Trump’s Thursday announcement, world leaders from China to Germany to the Marshall Islands and beyond promised to uphold the climate accord while citizens and civil society from across the globe vowed to “harness public outrage into meaningful on-the-ground action” to combat the crisis of climate change.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters on Friday that European leaders “will band together to take more decisive action than ever to confront and successfully surmount major challenges to humanity such as climate change.” Merkel called Trump’s withdrawal “highly regrettable, to put it very mildly,” but added: “this decision cannot and will not stop those of us who feel obligated to protect our Earth.”

Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron similarly reiterated his country’s commitment to climate action, and extended an invitation to “all scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, responsible citizens who were disappointed by the decision of the United States,” saying: “I want to say that they will find in France a second homeland.”

Merkel, Macron, and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni also immediately issued a statement Thursday making clear that “the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated, since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies, and economies,” rejecting Trump’s assertion that he would try to broker new terms for the accord.

Later, Macron took to Twitter to highlight Trump’s divisive “America first” rhetoric, which the U.S president employed to falsely justify the withdrawal.

Nations already experiencing some of the more dramatic effects of global warming, including fierce storms and rising seas, were also quick to condemn the move.

“Today’s decision is not only disappointing, but also highly concerning for those of us that life on the frontline of climate change,” said Marshall Islands President Dr. Hilda Heine. While the U.S.’s withdrawal “will have grave impacts,” she continued, “it is not too late to act. We must not give up hope. Our children and their children deserve not only to survive, they deserve to thrive. That is why the rest of the world remains firmly committed to the Paris Agreement, and our own commitment to it—and that of our wider Pacific family—will never waiver.”

“While this is a shameful day for President Trump and his people, it will not deter the rest of us. It is time for international politics to begin embracing new economies, new technologies, and commit to the fighting for the interests of the people, not the polluters. One man, one country will not change that.”
—Matisse Walkden Brown, Pacific Net with Greenpeace Australia

The government of South Africa issued a statement Friday expressing its “profound regret” over Trump’s decision, noting that the U.S. stands alone in its denial of the crisis, which it has largely worsened with decades of industrial growth and excessive consumption, “and therefore has a moral obligation not only to lead in reducing emissions, but to support poorer economies in contributing to the global effort.”

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