Czech prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka has added his voice to the chorus of world leaders condemning US president Donald Trump’s decision, announced on Thursday, to withdraw from and seek a renegotiation of the landmark Paris climate agreement.
The reaction of world leaders to the decision, by Donald Trump, to exit the United States from 2015 Paris Agreement was swift. Echoing the “deep disappointment” expressed by Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, and a joint statement issued by France, Germany and Italy that the climate agreement “cannot be renegotiated, since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies,” the Czech PM also added his voice to the choir. In a statement on Twitter, Bohuslav Sobotka wrote:
“This wrong decision by President Trump will weaken the Paris Agreement, but it will not destroy it. It is a shame that the US is isolating itself in a matter so important to the whole planet.”
The Czech Republic signed the Paris Agreement at the United Nations headquarters in April, 2016. The Czech Senate only ratified the agreement this April, but it has yet to be ratified by the lower house or signed by the president – even so, the agreement is already in effect as of November, 2016.
The Paris Agreement binds 195 countries to act to prevent a global temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pushes for the development of new green technologies. In withdrawing, the US now joins Syria and Nicaragua as one of the handful of nations to reject the agreement.
David Murphy – an American by birth – is the Executive Director at Greenpeace, Czech Republic. I asked for his reaction to the news:
“I think it is clearly yet another day that will live in infamy. I think this is a moment where the Trump administration has clearly sent a message to the rest of the world that the world can no longer depend on the United States as a reasonable, and rational, and responsible leader. People have been talking about whether we are witnessing the decline of the ‘American empire’. And now this administration is taking concrete steps to reduce US influence for the better...”
I also asked Murphy about the Czech commitment to address man-made climate change:
“The Czech Republic has renewed its share of renewable energies to 13 percent. And there is a clear commitment to move away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy...But President Zeman is very much a fan of Donald Trump, which is worrying to say the least. There needs to be leadership in this country as well...and that means moving forward in the trend towards renewables and away from fossil fuels. I think that politically there is support for that, but we do need voices like President Zeman to join the right side of history, and to stop fighting it.”