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US withdrawal won’t dent climate agreement: Mikkonen

06 Nov 2019, 00:54 ( 17 days ago) | updated: 06 Nov 2019, 10:08 ( 16 days ago)

DF Report
Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen. File Photo by the Government.

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen on Tuesday said the withdrawal of United States of America from the Paris Climate Agreement would not undermine the deal, according to an official press release.

The US government on Monday announced that it would officially withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

“The EU deeply regrets the unilateral decision by the Trump administration to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement. The EU remains committed to the Agreement, and the world can continue to count on Europe for global leadership in the fight against climate change,” said the minister.

“Europe will lead through ambitious climate policies and by providing continued support to the poor and vulnerable,” Mikkonen said.

The goal of the Paris Agreement is to keep the global rise in temperatures to well below two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels and to try to limit warming to one and a half degrees Celsius. It is the first legally binding climate agreement that covers the vast majority of global greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement is irrevocable, as almost all countries in the world have signed it.

“The withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement means that the rest of us must further increase our cooperation – and we will continue to work with US states, cities and civil society in support of climate action,” Mikkonen added.

The next meeting of the parties to the UNFCCC will take place in Madrid at the UN Climate Change Conference on 2–13 December.

The UN Climate Change Conference was set to be held in Chile, but due to the current political situation in the country, the meeting was moved to Spain. One of the main goals of the meeting is to agree on the market mechanisms of the Paris Agreement, meaning how countries can utilise their emission reduction measures in other countries in achieving their own emissions targets. The United States will most likely attend the meeting as usual.

“It is important for the US to participate in the negotiations so that they can come back later. They are now changing their status from a party to an observer,” Chief Negotiator Outi Honkatukia said.

Honkatukia points out that the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement will enter into force no earlier than one year after their resignation, in November 2020 – one day after the US presidential elections.