Australia committed to Paris deal despite Trump's withdrawal: minister

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-02 12:24:46|Editor: Zhang Dongmiao
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CANBERRA, June 2 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government on Friday reaffirmed its commitment to the United Nations' historic Paris climate change agreement, despite U.S. President Donald Trump's withdrawal of the United States overnight.

In response to Trump's announcement, Australia's Energy and Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that Australia remains committed to the deal despite United States' withdrawal.

The historic agreement, which involves a unified and worldwide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of global warming from 2020, was signed in Paris in 2015. Since then more than 190 nations have signed into the deal - with 146 of those countries having already ratified it.

"I've spoken to (Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull) this morning who's just landed in Singapore, and we reiterate Australia's commitment to the Paris Agreement," Frydenberg said.

"We'll continue to follow through on that important international agreement, which we signed and we ratified just the day after President Trump was elected."

The minister said Trump's decision was not a surprise considering his pre-election promise of putting America first, but considering the agreement had "been signed by more than 190 countries", it was disappointing all the same.

"Everybody got a heads-up' when Donald Trump went into the election and said this is what he was going to do. It's been one of the most telegraphed policy positions I think I can remember," Frydenberg said.

"It would have been preferable for the United States to remain at the table. That being said, many other major countries have reaffirmed like Canada, like Japan. India and China have reaffirmed their commitment to Paris. Australia does too."

Under the agreement, Australia has agreed to set a target of a 26-to-28 percent reduction in 2005 emissions levels by 2030, something Frydenberg said was still very much "reasonable and achievable".

Meanwhile Opposition Leader Bill Shorten backed the government's response to the news on Friday; he took to social media to vent his disappointment in the U. S.decision, saying that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull must "press" the U.S. government to reconsider its position.

"(We are) deeply disappointed by the failure of the U.S. to uphold this important international agreement and we urge the prime minister and the government to press the United States to reconsider its decision on the Paris Agreement," Shorten posted to Twitter.

Australia has joined representatives from the United Nations, France, Canada, Mexico and many other nations in condemning the withdrawal.