Berlin (dpa) – The United States’ formal withdrawal from the Paris climate accord is a step backwards, German Development Minister Gerd Mueller said on Tuesday.
“Industrialized nations, which are the main contributors to climate change, have a special responsibility and must act as role models,” he said in Berlin.
It is positive that many US states, cities, communities and companies continue to pursue the goals of the agreement, the minister said. Ten US states and 287 cities and communities have joined forces in a coalition called “We are still in.”
But Mueller also warned that countries around the world are overall too slow in making progress – only seven countries are on track to meet the accord’s objectives.
After China, the US is the largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world and is responsible for 14 per cent of global emissions.
The US government formally notified the United Nations of its withdrawal on Monday. President Donald Trump, a climate sceptic, had first announced his intention to do so more than two years ago.
The Paris climate agreement came into effect three years ago with the goal of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius as compared to pre-industrial levels. Signatories are meant to make efforts to halt global warming at 1.5 degrees.
Key parts of the accord are binding under international law, but there are no penalties for not complying. A total of 195 countries are parties to the agreement.