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Regional Leaders should seek to preserve US support on climate change – Jagdeo

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By Devina Samaroo

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo said US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out from the historic climate change agreement is no surprise and chided regional leaders for not taking proactive measures to guard against negative impacts from such a move.

He made these remarks during his weekly press conference today (2nd June, 2017) as he reminded that he had previously raised alarms about the dangers to the Caribbean if Trump assumes executive office and begins to implement certain policies he had campaigned upon.

“I have to express great disappointment not just with our government but with governments of the region for what seems like an abdication of this responsibility – to work towards shaping the global environment in a manner that is sympathetic to the policies that are beneficial to our people.”

Jagdeo argued that the move was “anticipated” as Trump had campaigned on these very policies.

“We’ve had over six months since the elections in the USA and I am yet to see any regional effort to point out to the new administration in the USA about how large a few issues loom in our lives, particularly matters concerning the environment and trade.”

The Opposition Leader explained that “if you listen to President Trump, the entire explanation of the withdrawal of the agreement has to do with economics, not the science of climate change.”

He said, “they believed that because of provisions in the agreement, rightfully or wrongfully, the United States is placed at a competitive disadvantage vis-à-vis China, Europe, India, etc.”

In this regard, Jagdeo believes that the region still has a good chance of maintaining the support from the US and he called on the leaders to take action.

“Our international trade is no threat to the US. We could easily point out that the countries in this region don’t pose a trade threat to the US.”

Furthermore, Jagdeo underscored the importance of having US support despite countries’ efforts to develop stronger relationships with newly emerging economies.

“The US will always be a valuable trading partner, economic partner and a country that is close to us. Over 500,000 of our people live there. That is the reality of our history. We’re closing to the US now than the UK which was the former colonial ruler.”

State Minister, Joseph Harmon had earlier today (Friday, June 02, 2017) expressed that Trump’s decision to pull out of the global accord was unfortunate.

Harmon, at post a Cabinet press briefing, reaffirmed Guyana’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. He noted that the US is a major contributor to international agreements such as the Paris Agreement, however, he expressed confidence that countries can mitigate the impact of this withdrawal.

“We believe the force of global push in this regard will see us overcoming the effects of a withdrawal of the United States of America from this process,” Minister Harmon said.

The Minister added that going forward the international community will now have to “regroup and have a fresh look” as it relates to their commitments under the Paris Agreement.

The US President had declared yesterday, “We’re getting out, but we’ll start to negotiate and we’ll see if we can make a deal that’s fair.”

The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance – which majority of the countries in the world had signed.

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