Chinese president Xi Jinping has defended the Paris climate accord, while US president Donald Trump is considering withdrawing (Photo: POTUS)


A US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement would unleash a wave of international anger, delegates at climate talks in Bonn have told Climate Home...

As the White House postponed a meeting planned for Tuesday to decide its stance on the pact, diplomats redoubled warnings against pulling out.

Chai Qimin, director of international cooperation at the Chinese government-funded National Centre for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, raised the prospect of retribution spilling over into other international forums, such as the upcoming G7 and G20 meetings.

“Definitely it will impact on other diplomatic arenas, already on G7 and G20, the Major Economies Forum as well,” he said. “President Xi [Jinping] and our ambassador to the United Nations have said several times that withdrawing from the Paris Agreement is irresponsible, which will harm the mutual trust in the multilateral mechanism.”

The G20 and G7 are critical to US president Donald Trump’s anti-globalisation agenda. The US has had statements against protectionism watered down in pre-G20 talks, as Trump attempts to convince trade partners to negotiate directly with the US.

Report: US sends “much smaller” team to climate talks in Bonn

Trump’s White House is divided over the climate accord, with advisors reportedly vying for the US president’s ear. His spokesperson promised a final decision before the G7 leaders meeting on 26 May.

Under Barack Obama, the US was a key broker of the Paris agreement. It helped to secure broad participation from developing countries with promises of billions of dollars in financial aid.

In his budget proposal, Trump is seeking to axe an outstanding $2 billion pledge to the Green Climate Fund.

A withdrawal from the agreement altogether would amount to a further, more grievous breach of trust, said Ethiopian diplomat Gebru Jember Endalew, head of the 48 least developed countries negotiating group.

“Of course it’s a betrayal, to be honest,” said Endalew. “At this stage when most of the political leaders are actively engaged, they are well aware of the issue. So, I feel that if the US withdraws, it’s a betrayal to the global community – especially the least developed countries and the most vulnerable groups of countries.”

US to UN: jobs come before carbon cuts

“The diplomatic consequences of the US pulling out of the Paris Agreement cannot be overstated,” said a negotiator from a small island state, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Every leader stood up in Paris and pledged to transform their economies, and every part of their governments are now engaged in that effort… Every conversation with the US at every level would therefore be touched by a decision to withdraw and the ill feeling that it would generate.

“US global leadership, and the US economy, would be the biggest victims. It simply makes no sense, especially at a time when the US needs all the new jobs it can generate, and all its allies to be working together.”

The US’ former lead climate negotiator Todd Stern, writing in the Washington Post on Monday, said leaving the deal would be an “act of diplomatic malpractice” and erode the diplomatic capital available to Trump and his secretary of state Rex Tillerson.

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“I do think that there’s going to be repercussions,” Paula Caballero, director of the World Resources Institute climate programme, told Climate Home. If he were to announce a withdrawal before the G7 summit begins in Sicily, just a week after this round of climate talks ends, Trump would find himself confronted with incensed and uncompromising leaders.

“I think that it’s a mistake to think that international climate diplomacy is somehow isolated and an environmental issue. It’s gone completely mainstream,” said Caballero, who previously led climate negotiations for Colombia. “I haven’t read the Art of the Deal [Trump’s bestselling book], but I’ve been negotiating long enough to know that what you bring to the table is your credibility. This undermines the US’ standing, stature and credibility.”

Caballero said US influence in the developing world, where it has been engaged in a soft power struggle with China, would be diminished.

“Now climate change is about more than the environment,” said Endalew. “It’s environment plus. It’s more on trade, technology and other climate diplomacy issues as well. And countries all over the world are now just bringing the climate change agenda as part of their foreign policy.

“So US will definitely lose its leadership role in this process and of course it’s a big betrayal and I think it will be disadvantaged from a moral point of view as well. Because they have been given a second time to lead the process. If they leave that, I think they will not have any excuse for that.”

Published on 09/05/2017, 11:05am

By Karl Mathiesen in Bonn

Karl Mathiesen is attending the Bonn climate talks. Follow him on twitter @karlmathiesen and email tips to

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  • Daniel Lavigne
    commented 2017-05-11 00:10:16 -0700
    To my friends and all others working to wake Humanity.

    Strongly suggest that all Climate activists review “The Melt Rate” and THE REALITY that we are now in a non-stop and ACCELERATING Global HeatRise situation. 

    We know the outcome of such . . . .

    The “Tipping Point” that we so fear becoming established . . . may well be so established that NOTHING we can NOW do shall help.

    However, our sole remaining chance, "IF" that “Tipping Point” is NOT YET established, IS TO REALIZE that we MUST prevent its establishment! 

    And that the last remaining “INPUT” available to us is the shutdown of ALL personal vehicles INCLUDING all solar powered personal vehicles.

    If we are to actually try to save our  planet for a few more centuries:

    The promotion of “solar powered” vehicles does not face up to the reality that the energy used / expended  / released to our atmosphere TO PRODUCE SUCH VEHICLES equals, approximately, 50% of all energy consumed / released to the atmosphere by the average fossil fueled vehicle throughout its “Useful Life” cycle.

    By building these vehicles, for all the right reasons including the search for technical efficiencies . . . we continue to contribute to the Heat Load that shall, quite soon, define the path by which “The Tipping Point” will establish itself.

    Due the above outlined realities of our situation: 

    I urge all to do NOW, what we know we will do – when it becomes apparent to us that we were fools to wait for so long.

    To a safer, saner and more caring world. To Duty.

    Daniel J. Lavigne  

  • Daniel Lavigne
    followed this page 2017-05-11 00:10:06 -0700
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