In a statement last night, Trump claimed US commitments under the climate change accord – signed by his predecessor Barack Obama – would cost millions of US jobs, if honoured. “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” said the president.
But, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which represents 190,000 UK businesses, described the decision as a disappointment.
The Paris agreement, agreed by 195 world leaders, puts the global economy on a sustainable low-carbon path. It was needed to provide the framework for business to invest with confidence, said CBI head of energy and infrastructure Michelle Hubert.
“It’s disappointing that President Trump has signalled his intention to withdraw the US from the agreement, but now is the time for governments to affirm their commitment to it by turning global ambition into national reality.
“By investing and innovating, British businesses will be at the heart of delivering a low-carbon economy, and will want to see domestic policies that demonstrate commitment to this goal.”
The UK needed a level playing field for carbon costs, so that “our energy-intensive industries can compete effectively in a global, low-carbon marketplace”, added Hubert.
Speaking after the president’s speech, a US spokesman for Kellogg told a local news source the manufacturers would honour its corporate commitments to tackle climate change.
“We believe in providing sustainable food for all by helping to improve the climate resiliency of our farming families and their communities, giving our foods the best possible start by protecting lands where our ingredients are grown and by serving as a leader in food security,” said the spokesman.
‘Protecting lands where our ingredients are grown’
Kellogg was one of 1,000 companies which signed an initiative – Business Backs Low-carbon USA – late last year, in a bid to persuade Trump to honour US commitments under the Paris agreement.
In an open letter to the president, signatories claimed: “Failure to build a low-carbon economy puts American prosperity at risk.
“We pledge to do our part, in our own operations and beyond, to realise the Paris Agreement’s commitment of a global economy that limits global temperature to well below 2°C.”
Other food manufacturers and businesses backing the plea included: Mondelēz International, Mars, General Mills, Ben and Jerry’s and Unilever.
The American Chemical Society (ACS) described the president’s decision as “a disappointment”. ACS ceo Thomas Connelly said: “Climate change represents a real and current threat to our economy, health and welfare. America should continue to take the lead in addressing global greenhouse gas emissions and become a leader in sustainable energy production and techology.”
Meanwhile, Unilever UK and Ireland recently revealed its plan to power 15 of its UK sites with 100% renewable wind energy.
Don’t miss the video below charting global temperature changes from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
What is the Paris climate agreement?
An agreement signed in Paris two years ago, which commits 188 countries – including the US – to maintain increasing global temperatures to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and try to limit them to 1.5°C. Two countries – Nicaragua and Syria – chose not to back the deal.