It was announced yesterday that the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker will not renegotiate the Paris climate agreement amidst US President Trump's claim that the agreement could be amended and made more palatable to the US. It was only earlier this month that Mr Trump stated that the US would leave the pact.
Speaking to the European Parliament, Mr Juncker described the US’ decision as not just a sad event, "it is a sign of abdication from common action in dealing with the fate of our planet".
The US "abandonment" will not spell the end of the agreement, he said, but would instead unite the world further and be more determined to work towards the accord's full implementation. There was no doubt as to his stance on amending the agreement when he said: “The European Union will not renegotiate the Paris Agreement”.
He added: "The 29 articles of the agreement must be implemented and not renegotiated. Climate action does not need more distractions. We have spent 20 years negotiating. Now it is the time for action. Now it is the time for implementation."
The president of the Marshall Island, Hilda Heine, also added that Europe had to adopt more stringent goals when it comes to cutting emissions of CO2. "We will not stay within 1.5C unless Europe and others move before 2020 to raise ambition." The bloc should adopt five-year climate targets instead of the current 10-year plans, she said.
The EU Parliament recently voted, by a huge majority, in favour of binding national targets for cutting emissions from areas including transport, agriculture and waste management. These areas are not covered by Europe's emissions trading scheme. The move forms part of the EU's strategy for getting emissions down by 40% in 2030 below 1990 levels.
"Today's vote gives a crystal clear signal to Donald Trump: Europe acts on its commitments under the Paris agreement and seizes the opportunities of green growth, with or without you," said Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, the Dutch MEP who helped guide the law through the parliament. "Almost all political groups have backed a strong and ambitious climate law."
The Paris Agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C. At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal.
An agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Paris Agreement deals with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. The language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 196 parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by consensus on December 12, 2015.