US President Donald Trump on Thursday announced his decision to withdraw the country from the historic Paris climate agreement. Among others reasons, he said the the deal was not tough enough on countries like India and China.
“In order to fulfil my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord – but begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers. So we’re getting out. But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine,” Trump said.
“As of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country. This includes ending the implementation of the nationally determined contribution and, very importantly, the Green Climate Fund which is costing the United States a vast fortune,” he said.
Trump said the deal, drawn up during the Obama administration, was “very unfair” to the United States, and did not pose strict enough restrictions on India and China. “For example, under the agreement, China will be able to increase these emissions by a staggering number of years – 13. They can do whatever they want for 13 years. Not us. India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries. There are many other examples. But the bottom line is that the Paris accord is very unfair, at the highest level, to the United States.”
“China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement. India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020. Think of it: India can double their coal production. We’re supposed to get rid of ours. Even Europe is allowed to continue construction of coal plants,” he said.
Even as the US pulled out of the climate agreement, India and China both reaffirmed their pledge towards the accord.
A senior Indian official involved in the climate negotiations told the Business Standard, “India will stand by the agreement and meet its INDCs (intended nationally determined contributions) regardless of what other partner countries do.”
“While the US administration’s leadership seems unaware of or unconcerned with the reputational and leadership costs of such a withdrawal, the Indian government is likely quite attuned to the costs, stakes, and competitive incentives as China seeks to fill the leadership vacuum,” South Asia expert Sameer Lalwani told the Hindustan Times in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to keep India in the accord. According to a member of Modi’s delegation to Germany, the prime minister told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that India would stay in the Paris climate agreement, even if the US pulled out of it.
China too said it would keep up its end of the climate accord, even if the US pulled out of it. Chinese prime minister Li Keqiang told Al Jazeera that his country will continue to work with the European Union and other countries to uphold the deal.