The Elders called on the United States to reaffirm its support for the Paris Agreement on climate change and show leadership and ambition in tackling the threat posed by global warming.
Speaking at their board meeting in Helsinki, the Elders noted that the Paris agreement was signed by over 190 countries, and has been ratified by more than 140 countries including the United States. It is thus a collective undertaking and responsibility, based on the principles of multilateralism and solidarity.
Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders, said: “The Paris Agreement is one of the most significant diplomatic achievements in recent years. It gives hope to the whole world that serious action on climate change is both possible and achievable. Leadership from the United States is vital to ensure full implementation and I hope the new Administration will honour the commitments made in Paris in 2015.”
The Elders emphasised that staying in the Paris Agreement necessitates a commitment to nationally-led action, and to the transparency and regular review of commitments to increase ambition over time.
They expressed concern at the recent proposal by President Trump to slash US funding for the Green Climate Fund. This decision weakens the already frayed bonds of trust between developed and developing countries, and places an enormous burden on other industrialised countries to mobilise the $100 billion per year promised to support climate action in developing countries.
Mary Robinson, Elder and former UN Special Envoy on Climate Change, said: “The world came together in Paris to agree an action plan to tackle the existential threat of climate change. Within this shared responsibility, there is a particular onus on developed countries – who have contributed the most to global emissions – to show leadership, ambition and financial commitment.”