Together with a group of environment, international development and faith organisations across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, we have issued this joint statement to UK party leaders following President Trump’s announcement to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
The UK has a proud record of international action on climate change, including introducing the ground-breaking Climate Change Act, and shaping the Paris agreement of 2015.
President Trump’s announcement that the US will withdraw from that agreement was rightly met with dismay from heads of states and governments around the world. France, Germany and Italy, in particular, made it clear that they will reject any attempt to derail global efforts to tackle climate change.
UK citizens overwhelmingly support the Paris agreement. Not taking the threat of climate change seriously puts our nation and its children’s futures at stake, and it ignores the lives of the world’s poorest people who are already paying the price of inaction. For UK businesses, there are large numbers of jobs & significant investments at stake.
Whilst we acknowledge the UK government’s expression of disappointment at President Trump’s decision, the public expect their leaders to have a similar level of clarity and resolve on this issue as other heads of state and government. At the very least, the UK should immediately join the High Ambition Coalition of nations in pledging to ‘fight for the full implementation’ of the deal. The formation of this Coalition was a key success of the Paris negotiations, and one in which the UK played a significant role.
The next UK Prime Minister – whoever that might be – must then use the G20 meeting taking place in less than five weeks, to make it clear that the Paris agreement cannot be renegotiated and that all major polluters should play their part in reducing the risks from climate change. These steps are necessary to demonstrate that the UK remains a responsible global player with an independent voice on the world stage.