Businesses can ‘fill the gap’ after Trump’s Paris withdrawal

US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement to tackle climate change has drawn fierce criticism from environmental and business lobby groups.

Trump announced the US was leaving for economic reasons, saying the deal would cost American jobs although Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US would still curb emissions.

But Erich Pica, Director of Friends of the Earth US, said: “The world must unify in treating Trump as a pariah and not as an excuse for inaction.”

Greenpeace International Executive Director Jennifer Morgan said: “Trump is surrendering US global leadership to real world leaders who are seizing the momentum to protect their country and the climate by transforming their economies to clean energy.”

Sam Gardner, Acting Director at WWF Scotland, added: “The world is making it very clear that the Paris Agreement will endure, and while the US withdrawal will impact our climate trajectory, it will not define its final outcome.”

Renewables boom ‘with or without’ Trump

The renewable energy industry also criticised Trump’s decision.

Emma Pinchbeck, Executive Director at trade body RenewableUK, said: “Far from putting America First, withdrawing from action on climate change means that President Trump has put the US behind the rest of the world.

“The global renewables boom is inevitable with or without President Trump."

“These technologies, including wind, wave and tidal energy, are not just the best options for tackling climate change - they’re now the best options for powering the economy.”

SmartestEnergy CEO Robert Groves said: “Donald Trump quitting the Paris climate deal is disappointing but the now globally understood social requirement for clean air combined with the growing business case for green technologies mean that businesses will rise to the challenge and fill the gap left by the short-sighted Trump administration.”

‘UK can play lead role’

Michelle Hubert, CBI Head of Energy and Infrastructure, said:

"The Paris Agreement is a climate deal agreed by the world's leaders that puts us on a sustainable low-carbon path and which can provide the framework for business to invest with confidence.

“It’s disappointing that President Trump has signalled his intention to withdraw the United States from the Agreement, but now is the time for governments to affirm their commitment to it by turning global ambition into national reality. By investing and innovating, British businesses will be at the heart of delivering a low-carbon economy, and will want to see domestic policies that demonstrate commitment to this goal.

“As other nations start to play a greater role and increase their ambition, the UK needs a level playing field for carbon costs, so that our energy intensive industries can compete effectively in a global, low-carbon marketplace.”

> Read further reaction from Greenpeace