SA govt calls on Trump to reconsider Paris accord decision

The carefully worded statement on behalf to the Department of Environmental Affairs expresses its profound regret at Trump’s decision.

FILE: Donald Trump. Picture: Supplied

PRETORIA - The South African government has called on US President Donald to reconsider his position to withdraw his country from the Paris climate change agreement and to recommit it to the multilateral process.

The carefully worded statement on behalf to the Department of Environmental Affairs expresses its profound regret at Trump’s decision which is an abdication of US global responsibility.

The statement notes that the international community regards climate change as the single biggest threat to well-being, health and socio-economic development facing humanity this century.

Its impacts are widespread, unprecedented and disproportionately burden the poorest and most vulnerable.

The statement says the Paris agreement represents the most flexible and dynamic approach to addressing climate change. And the withdrawal of the US is not only an abdication of global responsibility but damaging to multilateralism, the rule of law and trust between nations.

Trump, who has called climate change a hoax, said his administration would begin negotiations either to re-enter the Paris accord or to have a new agreement "on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers." He complained in particular about China's terms under the agreement.

International leaders, including the Pope, had pressed Trump not to follow through on an election campaign promise to abandon the accord, and they lamented his decision.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said in a rare joint statement the agreement could not be renegotiated and urged their allies to hasten efforts to combat climate change. They pledged to do more to help developing countries adapt.

Additional reporting by Reuters.