Solomon Islands criticises US withdrawal from Paris Agreement

Dr Melchior Mataki, a member of Solomon Islands’ delegation to COP23. Photo: SIBC.

A member of Solomon Islands’ delegation to the United Nations climate change conference called out the United States on its intent to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

In remarks at COP23 in Bonn, Germany this week, delegation member and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology Dr Melchior Mataki said Solomon Islands considers U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement “regrettable”.

“We call on the United States to take leadership in climate action and not stand in the way of current negotiations,” he said. “Combating climate change requires collective action. Every country should be part of the solution.”

Leaders, politicians and climate activists from around the world lambasted Mr Trump during COP23 for his plan to abandon the Paris Agreement, which he announced in June.

The U.S. State Department has said the administration could remain committed to the agreement if more suitable terms are reached, but it has not said what those terms would be.

The Paris Agreement, within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, aims to limit global temperature rise in response to the threat of climate change. It deals with greenhouse gas emissions, mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in 2020.

Solomon Islands ratified the agreement in 2016.

Dr Mataki said progress on the Paris Agreement work program is slow, but some actions have advanced Solomon Islands’ efforts to live up to the agreement.

Among them is the signing earlier this week of an accreditation master agreement between the Green Climate Fund and the World Bank that paves the way for millions of dollars to be released to the Tina River Hydropower Development Project in Guadalcanal’s central region.

The hydropower project is part of efforts under the Paris Agreement to increase renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.

“Below 1.5 degrees to stay alive remains our call,” Mr Mataki said in reference to the agreement’s long-term limit on temperature rise. “The Paris Agreement is our last line of defense.”

By Merinda Valley

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