Incensed Europe to Trump: Climate pact ‘not renegotiable’

European leaders and green groups reacted with anger and dismay after President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the United States, the world’s second biggest carbon emitter, was quitting the 2015 Paris Agreement.

But they also pledged to defend the agreement and not to backtrack in the fight against climate change.

In an exceptional step, continental Europe’s three biggest economies — Germany, France and Italy — issued a joint statement in which they criticized Trump’s decision and said the pact was “not renegotiable.”

“We note the United States’ decision with regret,” they said, describing the accord as “a vital tool for our planet, our societies and our economies.”

“We are firmly convinced that the agreement cannot be renegotiated,” they added, referring to part of the Trump announcement which said Washington was open to negotiating a new agreement.

US President Donald Trump speaks about the US role in the Paris climate change accord, Thursday, June 1, 2017, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the European Union’s executive Commission, lashed Trump’s decision as “seriously wrong.”

The body’s commissioner for climate action and energy Miguel Arias Canete also pledged continued “global leadership” on climate change.

“The EU deeply regrets the unilateral decision by the Trump administration,” he said in a statement.

“The Paris Agreement will endure. The world can continue to count on Europe for global leadership in the fight against climate change.

“Europe will lead through ambitious climate policies and through continued support to the poor and vulnerable,” he added.

People attend a climate conference at the US pavilion during the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference in Le Bourget, north of Paris, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

In Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed “regret” at the decision, and called for a continuation of “climate policies which preserve our world.”

Seven Social Democratic ministers in her coalition government said the United States “is harming itself, we Europeans and all the people of the world.”

In France, the Elysee presidential palace said newly-elected leader Emmanuel Macron had phoned Trump to say that “nothing was negotiable” in the Paris agreement.

France and the United States “would continue to work together,” but not on climate change, the presidential office said.

In a later statement, Macron said Trump had made an historic error Thursday by abandoning the Paris climate agreement, and invited US climate scientists and entrepreneurs to come and work in France.

Trump has “committed an error for the interests of his country and a mistake for the future of our planet,” Macron said on television, adding: “The United States has turned its back on the world.”

This file photo taken on December 12, 2015 shows then Foreign Affairs Minister and President-designate of COP21 Laurent Fabius (C), raises hands with then Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon (2-L) and then France's President Francois Hollande (R) after adoption of a historic global warming pact at the COP21 Climate Conference in Le Bourget, north of Paris. (AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS GUILLOT)

Referring to Trump’s idea of redrawing the 2015 accord, he said, “we will not in any way renegotiate an agreement that is less ambitious” than the present one.

Macron also called on American “scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, committed citizens” to “come and work in France on concrete solutions for climate.”

Paris city hall meanwhile said it would illuminate its building in green on Thursday “in a sign of disapproval” of Trump’s announcement and to recall the determination of cities around the world to fight climate change.

In Rome, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni urged against any retreat from fighting climate.

“Let’s not go backwards from the Paris Agreement,” he said on Twitter. “Italy is committed to reducing (carbon) emissions, to renewable energy, sustainable development.”

Greenpeace activists demonstrate outside the United States embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on June 1, 2017, against US President Donald Trump's decision that his country, the world's second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, would pull out of the 2015 Paris climate agreement (AFP PHOTO / EITAN ABRAMOVICH)

Among environment groups, Climate Action Network said the withdrawal “signals that the Trump Administration is in total discord with both reality and the rest of the world.”

“Unfortunately, the first to suffer from this injudicious decision is the American people,” the group, an alliance of climate activists, said.

“This action is totally contrary to their best interests: their health, security, food supply, jobs and future.”

Friends of the Earth International said “pulling out of the Paris Agreement would make the US a rogue state on climate change. The rest of the world cannot let the US drag it down.”

Oxfam France branded the decision as “shameful and irresponsible, scorning people and world peace.”

A picture taken on June 1, 2017, shows the City Hall of Paris illuminated in green following the announcement by US President Donald Trump that the United States will withdraw from the 2015 Paris accord and try to negotiate a new global deal on climate change. (AFP PHOTO / GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT)

Among the scientific community, Britain’s prestigious Royal Society said Trump’s decision would hamper US innovation in cleaner technology.

“The future is in newer, cleaner and renewable technologies, not in fossil fuels,” said the society’s president Venki Ramakrishnan.

“Such technologies will also help in our fight against air pollution and ensure greater energy security globally. President Trump is not putting America first, he is tethering it to the past.”

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