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Trump rejects pleas of world leaders, Pope Francis and CEOs . France, Germany and Italy say agreement can’t be renegotiated.FranceWebSharing & MyNewsCenterNavigator

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Trump to Exit Climate Pact as Allies Deride Call for Do-Over

Trump’s announcement spurns pleas from corporate executives, world leaders and even Pope Francis who warned the move imperils a global fight against climate change. His decision also drew an immediate condemnation from the leaders of France, Germany and Italy, who issued a statement insisting that the agreement was “irreversible” and “cannot be renegotiated.” The Japanese government described the U.S. move as “regrettable.”

Trump is kicking off a withdrawal process that will take years to unfold -- creating an opening for him to reverse course and injecting it as an issue in the next presidential election. Under the terms of the deal, the earliest the U.S. can formally extricate itself from the accord is Nov. 4, 2020 -- the day after the next presidential election. And Trump would have wide latitude to change his mind up until that point.

“The Paris accord would undermine our economy, hamstring our workers, weaken our sovereignty, impose unacceptable legal risk and put us at a permanent disadvantage to the other countries of the world,” Trump said. “China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. We can’t build new coal plants, but China, India can.”

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh -- not Paris,” he said.

What Did Trump Just Do? The Paris Climate Withdrawal Explained

Trump, who has called climate change a “hoax,” campaigned on the pledge to exit the 2015 pact. White House legal advisers had warned that staying in the accord could undercut Trump’s efforts to rescind rules on power-plant emissions and fuel efficiency.

The agreement allows nations to adjust their individual emissions targets, with a goal of strengthening them over time. But there is no established mechanism that would prompt countries to renegotiate the entire accord. Negotiators built flexibility into the deal from the start, structuring the agreement so that individual countries could determine their own commitments -- without any punishment for failing to fulfill them.

“Apparently the White House has no idea how a treaty works,” Christiana Figueres, the former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, told reporters in a conference call. She described Trump’s announcement as a “vacuous political melodrama.” 


Withdrawal would put the U.S. in league with just two other nations -- Syria and Nicaragua -- that are not participating in the agreement.

What Comes of Paris Climate Accord Without U.S.: QuickTake Q&A

Countries’ individual pledges vary widely. For instance, where the U.S. promised to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26 percent from 2005 levels by 2025, China said it would only begin reducing its emissions by about 2030. And India said it would only reduce the carbon intensity of its economy, meaning the nation’s emissions could continue to rise.

For the best of our coverage on climate science and the future of energy, sign up for Bloomberg's new weekly Climate Changed newsletter.

The Paris accord was a signature achievement for Barack Obama’s efforts to combat climate change while president. Obama released a statement after Trump’s announcement saying the pact “opened the floodgates for businesses, scientists, and engineers to unleash high-tech, low-carbon investment and innovation on an unprecedented scale.”

“Even in the absence of American leadership -- even as this administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future -- I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way,” Obama said.

As if to underscore that point, Bill Peduto, the mayor of Pittsburgh, tweeted that his city “will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy & future.”

Pope Francis Wrestles With Curia, Climate and Trump: QuickTake

Conservative groups and fossil fuel advocates quickly applauded Trump’s move.

“By not succumbing to pressure from special interests and cosmopolitan elites, the president demonstrated he is truly committed to putting America’s economy first,” Michael Needham, the chief executive officer of Heritage Action, said in a statement.

Coal executive Robert Murray praised Trump for “supporting America’s uncompromising values, saving coal jobs and promoting low-cost, reliable electricity for Americans and the rest of the world.”

As the richest nation and the second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide, the U.S. is central to efforts to address global warming. The Vatican, European leaders and companies as diverse as Exxon Mobil Corp. and Microsoft Corp. had urged the president to remain in the pact, with last-minute appeals by Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk and Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook.

Both Musk and Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said they would resign from a presidential jobs panel as a result of Trump’s decision.

As World Edges Away From Coal, Trump Pledges Revival: QuickTake

Corporate leaders have warned of long-term economic consequences, arguing that a withdrawal would put the U.S. at a disadvantage in the global race to develop and deploy clean-energy technology. They argued a U.S. exit also risks a backlash against American products, raising the specter of consumer boycotts or carbon tariffs from the European Union, China and other nations.

Jeff Immelt, the chairman of General Electric Co., tweeted that he was “disappointed” with the decision, adding that "climate change is real," and the onus now falls on industry to lead.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. chief executive Lloyd Blankfein, in his first tweet, said, “Today’s decision is a setback for the environment and for the U.S.’s leadership position in the world.” JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon said in a statement that he “absolutely” disagreed with the withdrawal, but added, “we have a responsibility to engage our elected officials to work constructively and advocate for policies that improve people’s lives and protect our environment.”

Congressional Reaction

Congressional Democrats quickly condemned the decision on the Paris accord. 

Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, tweeted "Dear planet, we’re sorry. Please just hang on for three and a half more years and we’ll fix this. We promise."

Some Republicans also criticized the action. Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, tweeted that she was “disappointed in the president’s decision,” because "climate change requires a global approach."

The debate whether to exit the agreement played out for months in the White House. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and chief strategist Stephen Bannon pushed for a exit. Those arguing to stay included Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, senior adviser Jared Kushner and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Energy Secretary Rick Perry endorsed a renegotiation.

Ivanka Trump and Kushner, her husband, did not attend Trump’s Rose Garden speech.

The Paris accord is broader than any previous climate agreement. It calls for reducing carbon dioxide emissions in hopes of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above temperatures at the outset of the Industrial Revolution. That’s the upper limit scientists have set to keep climate change from hitting an irreversible tipping point, unleashing catastrophic floods, droughts and storms.

Dismantle Regulations

Trump has already moved to dismantle regulations and government programs to fight global warming. He ordered a review of fuel-economy standards for cars and light trucks, which along with other vehicles are the U.S.’s largest source of greenhouse gases. And he set in motion a process to scrap the Clean Power Plan, which would have required utilities to slash their carbon-dioxide emissions. The EPA is also moving to rescind rules to prevent methane leaks.

U.S. climate efforts won’t completely cease just because Trump is walking away from Paris.


Africa Food Crisis Gets Attention at World Economic Forum,The annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland is usually a high-powered event, but at this week’s Africa meeting of the international organization, the continent’s big players are welcoming ...

Africa Food Crisis
(Voice of America 05/05/17)
Africa Food Crisis Gets Attention at World Economic Forum

As Africa grapples with a severe drought, and famine threatens millions of people, experts at the World Economic Forum on Africa this week in the South African city of Durban say food security needs to be a major part of discussions on advancing the continent economically.

The annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland is usually a high-powered event, but at this week’s Africa meeting of the international organization, the continent’s big players are welcoming the humble farmer, now known as the “agripreneur.”

Agricultural economist Paul Makube, with South Africa’s First National Bank, told VOA it makes sense to talk about farming when discussing building competitive markets, and boosting innovation and technology.

“For business to prosper, you need a situation where there is stability, and in terms of food supply, and also production, for the various regions of Southern Africa and Africa as a whole,” he said.

Economists and agricultural experts say, Africa’s current food crisis cannot be blamed solely on a drought that has devastated large swaths of the continent. Drought, along with serious conflict, has doomed millions of people to dire hunger in Somalia, South Sudan and the Lake Chad Basin of West Africa. But, experts say, there are serious problems in African farming — mainly the inability of subsistence farmers to make the leap into making a profit.

Their obstacles include a lack of infrastructure to get goods to markets, competition from cheap imported food, government policies that do not offer enough support, unavailability of farmers’ insurance, and limited access to technology.

The Grow Africa partnership works to increase private sector investment in agriculture, and its executive director, William Asiko, said he has seen the success of farming cooperatives in his native Kenya.

“Supporting smallholder commercial farmers has got much more benefit for countries, certainly it has worked in East Africa, where you have a lot of subsistence farming and you are now producing surplus with all the work that has been done with productivity. It is about making sure the cooperative system is working well so that farmers can aggregate their produce, get a better price at the market, and then working with processors and making sure the policies are in place for them to invest and work with these farmers,” he said.

And the problem is demographic, said Birju Patel of the South Africa-based Export Trading Group.

“The average age of small-scale farmers in Africa is between 60 to 65 years. That is retirement age for everyone in this room, right? Now, how do you engage the youth to get involved in farming? So that is the big challenge for us now. And, obviously moving ahead with how the rest of the world is progressing, we feel technology is going to play a big part in that,” said Patel.

Growing Africa’s next crop of agripreneurs will not be easy, experts say. It will take major investments in money, time, and attention, but they say the fruits of this labor are necessary to feed this continent’s economic growth.

Anita Powell


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