Former US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday slammed US President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the landmark Paris Climate Change Agreement.
Calling Trump's withdrawal from the Paris deal the "single greatest act of irresponsibility of any President of the United States at any time", he said, "Trump has pulled out of the Paris agreement, the American people have not."
He was addressing the two-day closing plenary of the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in this California city. It was co-chaired by California Governor Edmund G. Brown and UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael R. Bloomberg.
Kerry, who signed the Paris agreement on behalf of the US, said: "If we don't hold people accountable, we're not being responsible citizens. We have to actually vote."
The 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement, the first-ever legally binding treaty adopted by 197 countries that came in force on November 4, 2016, has been ratified by 180 parties till date.
The former Secretary of State said he's confident Trump's decision will ultimately be reversed because "he believes most Americans support the agreement".
"This is a race against time. This is a matter of survival. The ocean is where life comes from. Over 50 per cent of our air comes from the ocean and if we pollute it to death, we are killing ourselves," he said.
The three-day GCAS saw 4,000-plus business leaders, investors, citizens and government representatives from all over the world, coming together with the united resolve to "take ambition to the next level".
A new report by America's Pledge at GCAS said the US is already almost halfway to meeting its 2025 Paris Agreement goal. Existing commitments and policies will take the country two-thirds of the way towards those objectives despite the absence of federal support on climate action.
"If bottom-up climate collaboration accelerates and the coalition broadens, real economy actors can carry the United States within striking distance of meeting its 2025 Paris pledge," a report unveiled by Governor Edmund G. Brown and UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael R. Bloomberg said.
The report 'Fulfiling America's Pledge', prepared by researchers at the University of Maryland and the Rocky Mountain Institute, demonstrates how cities, states, and businesses can bring the US within striking distance of its 2025 emissions reduction target in the absence of federal leadership.
Importantly, the cities, states and businesses can do their part to put us on a post-2025 pathway towards deep decarbonisation as well.
(Vishal Gulati is in San Francisco at the invitation of the Climate Trends to cover the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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