Minister Mikkonen: US withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement will not undermine Agreement – EU to continue on its ambitious path

Press release 2019-11-05 at 5:38

The US Government announced yesterday that it would officially withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

“The EU deeply regrets the unilateral decision by the Trump administration to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement. The EU remains committed to the Agreement, and the world can continue to count on Europe for global leadership in the fight against climate change,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen.

“Europe will lead through ambitious climate policies and by providing continued support to the poor and vulnerable.”

“The withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement means that the rest of us must further increase our cooperation – and we will continue to work with US states, cities and civil society in support of climate action,” Minister Mikkonen says.

The goal of the Paris Agreement is to keep the global rise in temperatures to well below two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels and to try to limit warming to one and a half degrees Celsius. It is the first legally binding climate agreement that covers the vast majority of global greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement is irrevocable, as almost all countries in the world have signed it.

The next meeting of the parties to the UNFCCC will take place in Madrid at the UN Climate Change Conference on 2–13 December. The UN Climate Change Conference was set to be held in Chile, but due to the current political situation in the country, the meeting was moved to Spain. One of the main goals of the meeting is to agree on the market mechanisms of the Paris Agreement, meaning how countries can utilise their emission reduction measures in other countries in achieving their own emissions targets. The United States will most likely attend the meeting as usual.

“It is important for the US to participate in the negotiations so that they can come back later. They are now changing their status from a party to an observer,” Chief Negotiator Outi Honkatukia says.

Honkatukia points out that the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement will enter into force no earlier than one year after their resignation, in November 2020 – one day after the US presidential elections.

Inquiries:

Riikka Yliluoma, Special Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 50 414 1682, riikka.yliluoma@ym.fi

Outi Honkatukia, Chief Negotiator for Climate Change, tel. +358 50 341 1758, outi.honkatukia@ym.fi