#Africa Trump’s Paris pullout sparks African concern

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President Donald Trump has confirmed that he will pull the US out of the historic Paris Climate Agreement, striking a potentially critical blow to Africa’s battle against climate change.

In a major speech on Thursday, Trump defied the opinion of his allies and the wider international community by sticking to his election pledge to pull the US out of the agreement, which he says unfairly penalises the US economy by imposing onerous emissions targets on industry.

The decision was greeted with dismay in Africa, a continent which is uniquely vulnerable to the worst effects of climate change yet contributes little to global pollution levels. The pledge to limit global temperature rises to no more than 1.5°C by 2100, signed by almost 200 countries at the Cop21 meeting in 2015, was hailed as a game-changer by African politicians and climate activists who argue that the continent’s economic future rests on its successful implementation. 

Africa is expected to warm up to 1.5 times faster than the global average, according to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, while scientists estimate that the continent’s annual GDP loss as a result of a global rise in temperatures could range from 1.5% to 3% by 2030.

Despite Trump’s move, there are signs that other countries will attempt to uphold the deal amid profound disquiet with the US decision. Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang – representing the world’s largest emitter – will hold talks with his European counterparts on Friday to scout a way forwards, with the two sides expected to sign a joint statement reasserting their support for the process and promising $100bn a year in climate finance for poorer countries by 2020.

Yet the non-participation of the United States, which contributes around 14% of the world’s carbon emissions, could still derail any effective implementation of the deal. The signing of the agreement by President Barack Obama was viewed as the historic culmination of a decades-long diplomatic battle to convince the United States, China and other major emitters to sign up to binding targets, following the high-profile failures of talks at Kyoto and Copenhagen.  

 Since 2015, African negotiators have lobbied hard for a strict implementation of the deal, including binding temperature limits and increased financial transfers from the rich world to the developing world to mitigate the worst effects of climate change, which could include desertification, drought and crop destruction.

Even before Trump’s dramatic policy reversal, campaigners insisted that too little finance was being made available to African countries struggling to adapt to climate change.

The post Trump’s Paris pullout sparks African concern appeared first on African Business Magazine.

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