Petersberg Climate Meet raises concerns over USA withdrawing from Paris Agreement

At the start of 2016, the US was well positioned to lead the global fight against climate change. India, meanwhile, in 2016 announced cancellation of plans to build several huge coal-fired power plants.

The Paris Agreement is the first global, legally-binding climate deal in history, and as of April 2017 has been ratified by 144 of the 195 UNFCCC countries that signed the initial agreement, including all major economies and greenhouse gas emitters.

During his election campaign, Trump promised to withdraw from the treaty, but senior officials in his administration are divided over the issue.

Trump is expected to make a decision on Paris this week.

'The US will likely miss its target and cut climate financing regardless of Paris, ' Dr Kemp says in a commentary published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Tuesday. The calls for the United States to remain in the Paris Agreement are fundamentally pleas urging the act responsibly and pro-actively on climate change, more than they are about the Paris Agreement itself.

China's plan aims to seek the broadest consensus among the signatories to the Paris Agreement, reflecting the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities", climate equity, and matching action and support, Xie said.

But the issue could become a stumbling block at a G-7 meeting of leading Western powers in Sicily this month, amid uncertainty over whether the USA will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on fighting global warming.

Guzman also emphasized the fact that USA inaction was not acceptable and would be met with resistance: "W$3 e will be promoting an unprecedented new global drive for accelerated climate action that we are certain would overwhelm any isolated effort to undermine the Paris Agreement".

The Obama administration gave almost $1 billion to the GCF in 2016. That undermines American interests on multiple fronts. However, the loss of US leadership and the damage from that loss is already being felt because of the Trump administration's actions, regardless of the ultimate decision on Paris.

He believes having a rogue United States that doesn't cut emissions and won't finance global green banks stay in the agreement would cause more damage than if it left. Hundreds of business groups have come out in favor of the Paris agreement, and General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, whose worldwide corporation is establishing its headquarters in Boston, has expressed support for it.

But even if the U.S. decides to pull out there are other countries who have reaffirmed their commitment which could, in fact be, a "reaction to the US", said Weischer, who heads worldwide climate policy at Germanwatch.

"It is a positive signal that China and Germany want to step up to the plate in taking shared leadership in accelerating global climate action". "We are working now together with our ministers of finance to find innovative ways to accelerate our progress towards the 100% renewable energy vision, as well as to reduce risks and boost poverty reduction efforts", the declaration stated. Toward that end, this year the Chinese government will establish a national carbon market, which with 5 billion tons of carbon trade will be the largest in the world. China's dilemma is that it needs to sustain rapid economic development, while simultaneously filling the global climate leadership vacuum. "There's a huge opportunity and now it's bigger than just one country".

The Paris Agreement was struck by some 200 countries.

  • Jon Douglas