Donald Trump is pulling out of the Paris Agreement – Britain’s party leaders must debate climate change

BBC leaders debate should include question on climate change

 

It’s been widely reported this afternoon that Donald Trump will withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement on climate change, the most ambitious climate framework ever agreed by the international community.

This will present the next British prime minister with a dramatic challenge. If the US does walk away, other world leaders must immediately respond to prevent a domino effect. It will fall to countries like Britain, Germany, China, India and France to hold the agreement together despite the loss of US support, and to enhance their commitment to its targets.

Given this seismic event — and the key role Britain will play in the coming years — the party leaders must be asked to discuss their climate policies at tonight’s BBC debate.

The issue of climate change has scarcely played a part in the general election campaign so far.

Craig Bennett, CEO of Friends of the Earth, has said the UK should refuse to sign a trade deal with the US if its pulls out of Paris.

“Friends of the Earth will campaign vigorously against any trade deal with the US if it turns its back on its global responsibility to tackle climate change – one of the biggest challenges the world faces.

“The next five years are a watershed moment for our climate. Only if we act now can we hope to prevent catastrophic climate change destroying homes and livelihoods here in the UK and fuelling starvation and refugee crises across the globe.

“This short-sighted and dangerous decision will be met by opposition around the world: from ordinary people, to scientists, and political leaders — making the US a global outcast.

“Whoever becomes the next UK Prime Minister, they must now step up on climate action and show that our ‘special relationship’ with the US cannot extend to supporting a nation that would so flippantly jeopardise the climate for future generations.”

Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin is editor of Left Foot Forward. Find her on Twitter.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.