Environmentalists have vowed not to be deterred by the US’s rejection of the Paris Climate Change Accord but to use the international outcry to galvanise efforts towards meeting its carbon reduction targets.
Around 100 members of the Green Party, Friends of the Earth, Stop Climate Chaos, Trócaire, and other groups protested outside the US embassy in Dublin to express disappointment at Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the carbon reduction agreement.
As they waved banners, bounced inflatable globes, and staged a tug-of-war with a Green Party councillor in a Donald Trump mask, they said they were determined not to let Mr Trump deter the rest of the world’s efforts.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said the good-natured tone of the event reflected a determination to stay positive: “We are here to say that Donald Trump was wrong and to call on the American people to stand up and say the same, knowing we will support them.”
He called for Europe to introduce diplomatic sanctions against the US, restricting involvement in groups such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the International Energy Agency.
But Mr Ryan said Mr Trump’s snub to the climate crisis should also give impetus to Ireland’s efforts to move to a clean economy.
“We are one of only two EU countries who will not meet our 2020 targets on carbon emissions. We need to get our own house in order but I have hope that this will galvanise our own commitments on climate change.”
Cara Augustenborg, lecturer on climate change at University College Dublin, accused Mr Trump of “blind ignorance of science”.
“It’s not fair what Donald Trump is doing to my home country, to our earth and for your children,” said Dr Augustenborg. “That’s what’s not fair, Donald Trump. If you want to be fair to America, act on climate.”
Meaghan Carmody, co-ordinator of Stop Climate Chaos, said the U-turn on Paris was “a major step backwards after so many people worked so hard to plot a route forward”.
“On a positive note, though, it has jolted a lot of people into realising that it’s more important than ever that we work harder than ever on carbon reduction,” she said.
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