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Letter on Paris Climate Agreement

This statement is supported by renowned scholars from rising powers of the South as well as Germany. The common position demonstrates our unwavering commitment to the Paris Accord and expresses our determination to deepen joint knowledge creation on existential issues for human survival and sustainable development, for global justice and social integration. 

US President Trump has announced that he will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. The USA will no longer participate in the international efforts to limit the global temperature rise to a maximum of 2.0 degrees. With this step, Donald Trump isolates the USA internationally and places it on the same level with states like Syria or Nicaragua. His decision comes neither as a surprise to the global community, nor does it diminish the huge historical meaning of the Paris Accord. 

The effect of the US exit could be fatal if other heads of state follow the example. Climate protection is not only essential to limit global warming, but also to implementing the universal 2030 Agenda. Those 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which are to be implemented by the year 2030, apply to all countries of the world. They are central for securing jobs and sustainable economic development. In the USA, no other industry created more jobs in 2017 than the turbine sector, which strongly depends on investment in climate-friendly energies. It is obvious, that the USA itself will suffer severely from President Trump's decision. At last week's Berlin Summit of Think Tanks (T20) from G20 countries, co-hosted by the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), high-ranking representatives from academia, civil society, business and government underlined the importance of jointly implementing the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Accord. 

Collective efforts to fight climate change are especially crucial to promote peace and human security. Marginalized groups in developing countries as well as low-income people within industrial countries will suffer first and foremost from the consequences of global temperature rise. Investments in climate mitigation and adaption are, therefore, essential for poverty reduction, sustainable growth and enduring prosperity. 

In the face of US withdrawal, Germany, the European Union and middle-income countries in the South need to intensify their efforts for fast and effective implementation of the Paris Accord. They must strengthen existing collaborative programs and create new international climate alliances. Many of the remaining 194 member states of the Framework Convention on Climate Change have already stated that they will stay fully dedicated to the agreed objectives. In addition, a huge number of sub-national and non-state actors within the USA have dissociated themselves from President Trump’s announcement and will intensify their climate-related work. In addition, the impressive engagement of rising powers and middle-income countries over the past years gives rise to hope for effective international cooperation, regardless of the position taken by the US at the federal level. 

The world urgently needs to act on the existential threats of climate change under the “business as usual” trajectory. We, therefore pledge to redouble our efforts for joint knowledge creation in support of the Paris Accord and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

Signed by 

  • Dirk Messner, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
  • Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, South African Institute of International Affairs
  • Narnia Bohler-Muller, Human Sciences Research Council, South Africa
  • Paulo Esteves, BRICS Policy Center, Brazil
  • Enrique Saravia, Getulio Vargas Foundation, Brazil
  • Medelina Hendytio, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Indonesia
  • Yulius Hermawan, Parahyangan Catholic University, Indonesia
  • Archna Negi, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India
  • Sachin Chaturvedi, Research and Information System for Developing Countries, India
  • Dongxiao Chen, Shanghai Institutes of International Studies
  • Haibing Zhang, Shanghai Institutes of International Studies
  • Jiang Ye, Shanghai Institutes of International Studies
  • Xiaoyun Li, China Agricultural University
  • Carlos Domínguez Virgen, Instituto Mora, Mexico
  • Enrique Dussel Peters, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico

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