COP23 Presidency Deeply Disappointed with Trump’s Decision to Withdraw from the Paris Agreement
Statement by the Fijian Prime Minister and Incoming President of COP23, Frank Bainimarama
The decision by the Trump Administration to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change is deeply disappointing, especially for the citizens of vulnerable nations throughout the world.
It is also a grave disappointment for millions of people living in those areas of the United States that are threatened by the effects of climate change, whether it is the flooding that threatens cities like New York and Miami, or the periods of drought and deluge that have plagued California and other states, or the temperature rise that is affecting cities, wildlife and natural areas across the United States.
As incoming President of COP23, I did what I could – along with many leaders around the world – to try to persuade President Trump to remain standing shoulder-to-shoulder with us as, together, we tackle the greatest challenge our planet has ever faced. While the loss of America’s leadership is unfortunate, this is a struggle that is far from over.
That is because the world has reached the consensus that all nations must meet this challenge together, and we need not forgo economic growth to do so. On the contrary, solving the climate crisis through cooperation, innovation, new technologies and improved access to capital around the world will create real, sustainable economic growth for those who have the vision to make this moment of challenge a moment of opportunity.
The rest of the world remains fully committed to the implementation of the Paris Agreement. I am especially encouraged by the commitment being shown by China, India, the European Union, Canada, Mexico and the vast majority of other nations. They will continue to lead this process, with or without the support of the Trump Administration, but with the knowledge and assurance that many ordinary Americans support participation in the Paris Agreement, and that many American states, cities and businesses will continue to pursue the ambitious climate action the Agreement entails.
As incoming COP President, I reaffirm that I will do everything possible to continue to forge a grand coalition that will accelerate the momentum that has continued since the Paris Agreement, embracing governments, civil society, the private sector and millions of ordinary men and women around the world. I am also convinced that the United States Government will eventually rejoin our struggle because the scientific evidence of man-made climate change is well understood. The issue is settled, and the impacts are obvious, and humankind ignores these facts at its peril.