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Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw America from the Paris Agreement is a shameful act from an administration with no concern for the world’s poor, Trócaire has said.
A malnourished child is weighed and treated at a Trócaire health centre in northern Kenya (Photo: David O’Hare)
The decision to withdraw America from the global climate change agreement is particularly shocking given that over 24 million people in east Africa are currently reliant on food aid due to prolonged drought and conflict.
“This is a reckless move and signals a complete lack of concern for the world’s poorest people by the Trump administration,” said Trócaire’s Éamonn Meehan.
“At a time when the lives of over 24 million people in east Africa are dependent on food aid, this constitutes a shameful betrayal of people whose futures depend on the world’s powerful governments taking action on climate change.
“President Trump should travel to east Africa and see for himself the devastating impact of climate change. Trócaire sees those impacts every day. The current crisis is east Africa has been caused by a worsening drought and exacerbated by conflict in some countries.”
While America has signalled its intention to withdraw from the deal, the fact that other big countries, including China, India and the EU nations, have stated their intention to maintain their commitments shows that the world will move on without Donald Trump’s administration.
It is vital that Ireland plays a positive role in maintaining the obligations of the agreement.
With Dáil Éireann set to elect a new Taoiseach over the coming weeks, Meehan said that one of the first acts of the new Taoiseach should be to publicly reaffirm Ireland’s support for the Paris Agreement and signal Ireland’s determination to live-up to its international obligations on climate change.
“One of the new Taoiseach’s first acts should be to unambiguously reaffirm Ireland’s commitment to the Paris Agreement. The Trump administration’s hostility to reality should not distract the rest of the world from the task of building a safe and sustainable future. This is an opportunity for Ireland to show leadership on the global stage by reaffirming our belief in and commitment to the targets set out in the Paris Agreement.
“The recent passage of the Fracking Bill and the progression of a bill to end the state’s investment in fossil fuel companies are signs of global leadership on climate change from Ireland. However, Ireland’s broader performance on climate change is poor. A National Mitigation Plan is set to go to cabinet in the next weeks which will set out the Government’s stall on climate action for the next five years. The new Taoiseach should prioritise strengthening this plan in keeping with our obligations under the Paris Agreement.”
Meehan also warned that the US position on climate change could lead to a loss of life in the developing world and will pose significant risks to people in the US:
“We see the impacts of climate change every day through our work. Right now over 24 million people are in need of food aid across east Africa as a result of drought and conflict. These droughts are becoming more frequent and more intense. The US is the world’s second highest polluter, accounting for almost 16 per cent of global emissions, so they are contributing significantly to this crisis.
“Climate change presents enormous risks for America too. The World Bank has stated that five of the top 10 cities in the world most at risk from climate change are in the US. The Trump administration is on a collision course with reality.”
Find out more about Trócaire’s response to the east Africa food crisis.