France ‘regrets’ US decision to leave Paris Agreement

The United States is the only country to apply to leave the Paris Agreement, a move that France has said it "regrets"

France has said that it “regrets” the decision by the United States to leave the climate change Paris Agreement, after US President Donald Trump officially notified the United Nations (UN) this week.

Mr Trump first confirmed his intention to leave the Agreement in 2017. The UN had not been able to intervene in the decision earlier, due to a clause in the text.

The official notification has now started a one-year countdown before the USA can actually leave the Agreement, setting the earliest leaving date to November 4, 2020.

A statement from the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said that although the notification had been “an expected procedure”, France “regrets it, and this makes the French-Chinese partnership on climate and biodiversity even more necessary”.

The USA is the only country to leave the Agreement, which was signed by 197 countries.

The UN describes the Agreement as “bring[ing] all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so. As such, it charts a new course in the global climate effort”.

It aims to keep the global temperature rise of the planet to “well below 1.5-2°C above pre-industrial levels this century”.


France and China cooperate

The statement from France came as President Macron was in the Chinese city of Shanghai, beginning the second day of an official visit to China.

Action on climate change has been confirmed as one of the major topics set to be discussed between Mr Macron and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. During the visit, the two leaders are expected to sign a text on climate and biodiversity, which will include a paragraph on “the irreversibility of the Paris Agreement”.

The two countries have been cooperating on the issue of climate, following agreements at the 2018 G20 summit that took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

France is also set to welcome the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille in June 2020; ahead of the Conference of the Parties (COP) COP15 UN Convention on Biodiversity set to be held in Beijing, China, in October 2020.

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