Photo taken on April 29, 2017 shows a child holding a placard during a demonstration against U.S. President Donald Trump's climate policies in Los Angeles, the United States. (Xinhua/Zhao Hanrong)
BRUSSELS, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Leading climate experts and advocates in Europe reacted in outrage, following the announcement on Thursday by U.S President Donald Trump to withdraw the country from the Paris climate accord.
"The world's biggest historic emitter walking away from its climate change commitments is gravely unjust, but we must respond by redoubling our efforts. Those on the frontlines of climate change demand nothing less," said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, a UK-based confederation of charitable organizations.
Jonathan Church, lawyer with Europe-based environment law organization ClientEarth, called the decision of the Trump administration "an act of global environmental vandalism that has the potential to do great harm to current and future generations."
The Paris climate agreement represents a "best chance of avoiding severe and destabilizing climate change," Church said, noting that now without the United States, the commitment of other leading nations is "more important than ever."
The experts believe that the absence of the U.S. will strengthen the bonds among other powers on the frontline against climate change.
Wendel Trio, director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said unlike the view of the sitting U.S. administration, countries all over the world see the Paris Agreement as an engine for growth and jobs.
"The European Union (EU) is already strengthening its alliances with countries like China and Canada, as well as those most affected by climate change," said Trio. "The EU needs to step up its game now, to trigger more climate action and smooth the way for scaling up the Paris climate pledges."
Federico Brocchieri, vice president of Italian Climate Network (ICN) called the decision "shortsighted and against history."
"However, this will not stop the transition: from countries to cities, from businesses to citizens, the world has taken a very clear path which must gradually lead to a full decarbonization of the economy, in line with the targets set by science, to leave current and future generations a sustainable planet," he underlined.
"Trump is surrendering U.S. global leadership to real world leaders who are seizing the momentum to protect their country and the climate by transforming their economies to clean energy," said Jennifer Morgan, Greenpeace International executive director.
"We are witnessing a seismic shift in the global order as Europe, China and others lead the way forward," she added.
With such a decision, Trump administration has cast America adrift from the global community and the reality of climate change, according to Susann Scherbarth, climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe.
"The fossil fuel industry and climate change deniers have set up shop in the White House, and they're putting the lives and livelihoods of millions of people on the line," said Scherbarth, who called for increased action on climate in Europe.
Erich Pica from environmental network Friends of the Earth shares a similar view of the role of the fossil fuel industry behind the decision.
"Trump is on a mission to sacrifice our planet to the fossil fuel industry. By pulling out of the Paris Agreement, Trump has turned the U.S. into the world's foremost climate villain," he said, adding that the majority of Americans demand climate action.
According to him, the rest of the world must "move forward aggressively without the world's leading historical contributor of greenhouse gas emissions."
The Paris Agreement was agreed by the 195 member economies that attended the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris.
The U.S. ratified the climate change accord in September, 2016 under the Barack Obama administration.