A few short blocks from Trump Tower in New York, world leaders reaffirmed their commitments to rein in climate change and vowed to push ahead with the groundbreaking Paris agreement rejected last year by President Donald Trump.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who emerged as Trump’s biggest antagonist this week at the United Nations, didn’t mention him by name Wednesday at the One Planet Summit to rally support for the Paris agreement. But no one missed the reference when he said the accord has survived despite “one decision.’’
“The Paris agreement was supposed to be dead because of one decision,’’ Macron told an audience that included heads of state, the chief financial officer for Alphabet Inc.’s Google, former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who’s the United Nations Special envoy for climate change, and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “Climate change is not an agreement or a decision made by heads of states and governments.’’
Trump has moved to roll back environmental regulations, most recently with a proposal to eliminate requirements imposed by President Barack Obama’s administration that force energy companies to plug methane leaks from new and newly modified oil and natural gas wells. When methane leaks from oil wells, escapes from pipelines or is vented as a nuisance it’s considered a super-pollutant that’s blamed for as much as a quarter of the planet’s warming.
Trump had previously rejected another Obama initiative that would have strengthened power plant standards on carbon dioxide emissions, and he has rolled back higher fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks. Trump, who once called climate change a hoax perpetrated by China, has vowed to revive the U.S. coal industry.
“We are not here just to speak but to be accountable,’’ Macron said. “Here we will see what is working and what is not working. What we need is action.’’
Macron told the UN General Assembly Tuesday that trade pacts shouldn’t be signed with countries that don’t respect the 2015 Paris treaty. Macron has in the past called for putting carbon-reducing standards in trade pacts but hasn’t linked such accords to the climate treaty.
The One Planet Summit followed the Bloomberg Global Business Forum at the Plaza Hotel in New York. Michael R. Bloomberg is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.