Estonian Minister of the Environment Marko Pomerants (IRL) has condemned the decision of U.S. President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, calling the decision "regrettable."
"Undoubtedly the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Agreement is regrettable — after all, the United States is the second biggest polluter in the world," Pomerants told BNS on Friday. He noted, however, that this news will not change the determination and course of Estonia, the European Union or the rest of the world. "The U.S. withdrawal means that we have lost a very strong supporter and partner of the Paris Agreement and the main goal of the agreement — to limit the increase in temperature to under two degrees — will be much more difficult to achieve."
Pomerants said that the EU has issued a strong message in support of the Paris Agreement by confirming that is it ready to assume the role of global leader in matters related to climate change. The EU is planning to reinforce existing partner relations and find new allies from among the world's biggest economies as well as countries most vulnerable to climate change to vigorously move forward with implementing the Paris Agreement.
"Even though Trump has offered to negotiate the conditions of the agreement or join a completely new agreement, this course of events is quite unlikely," Pomerants explained. "Countries worked hard for the agreement for years and many countries, including France, Germany and Italy, have already said that the agreement will not be renegotiated. The same has been said by the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change."
The minister said that it is not currently known what kind of impact the decrease in U.S. funding to support developing countries will be. "The EU is still committed to collectively mobilize $100 billion toward activities related to climate change in developing countries by 2020, but in order to achieve that goal, all donor countries will need to work for it and an important role will be played by private sector funding," he said. "The U.S. withdrawal definitely does not mean that reaching the $100 billion goal is impossible."
The minister said that climate change is a priority for Estonia during the upcoming EU presidency. "We are continuing work toward achieving the goals of EU climate policy and will follow the aims of the Paris Agreement," he affirmed. "In November, we will have the responsibility of heading the work of the EU at the UN climate conference, which will definitely be a challenge, but we are ready for it."
Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement was also criticized on Friday by Minister of Health and Labor Jevgeni Ossinovski, who said that the U.S. is taking course toward becoming a developing country.
Trump announced on Thusday that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Agreement, making it one of of three countries not to follow it.
Editor: Aili Vahtla