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Jamaica disappointed with Trump's Paris deal decision

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, June 02, 2017

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BOTH the Government and the Opposition have expressed disappointment with the decision by United States President Donald Trump to pull his country out of the current Paris Agreement on climate change.The Government's main spokesman on climate change, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that, while it accepts that each of the 147 parties to the agreement has a right to determine their future engagement with the convention and the agreement, it is saddened by the US decision.

“We are saddened that such an important party has decided on this course of action, but we respect their right to the decision,” he said.

He added that, in the circumstances, Jamaica and other small island developing states (SIDS) would have to step up their efforts to ensure that their resilience is increased in order to protect their populations.

Vaz also noted that only three countries — the United States, Nicaragua and Syria — would be outside the treaty.

Opposition spokesperson on the subject, Sophia Fraser Binns, described the development as devastating, especially for small developing states like Jamaica.

She said that it would not only affect the United States internally, but dependent and inter-dependent states, in areas like the rise in sea levels and the migratory patterns of birds.

She stated that it would be devastating from Jamaica's perspective, because the country has been partnering with organisations such as USAID, which have helped to finance projects aimed at reducing the effects here.

“We will be impacted, so it is imperative that we take full note of what is happening and see how best we can ensure that the projects that we have been pursuing continue,” she stated.

Trump announced yesterday that the US would be quitting the Paris Agreement, regarded as the most expensive global agreement in history.

The United States was one of 195 nations that agreed to the accord in Paris in December 2015. Under the pact, both rich and poor states committed to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases generated by burning fossil fuels and blamed by scientists for warming the planet.

Trump said the Paris accord would undermine the US economy, cost US jobs, weaken American national sovereignty, and put his country at a permanent disadvantage to other countries.

“We're getting out,” he told a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden.

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” he commented.

Trump said he may renegotiate a better deal later, but European countries said that would not happen.

The spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called his action a “major disappointment”.

The UN said that the accord cannot be renegotiated, based on the request of a single nation.

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