President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement was “incredibly stupid and short-sighted”, Bernie Sanders told an Irish audience during a sell-out event in Dublin on Sunday.
Speaking at the launch of the Dalkey Book Festival at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, the Vermont senator said that Mr Trump is “dead wrong” if he believes that climate change is a hoax.
In December 2015, more than 190 countries adopted the Paris Agreement, the most ambitious climate change agreement in history. Mr Trump’s decision puts the US in line to join only Syria and Nicaragua – who pulled out because the Agreement does not go far enough to limit emissions – as non-participants in the Agreement.
The US is estimated to be responsible for 15 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, second only to China as the world’s largest emitter. Under former President Barack Obama, the US had committed to reducing carbon emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2025.
Announcing the decision last Thursday from the White House Rose Garden, Mr Trump said that the decision is justified as the Agreement “handicaps the United States economy”.
He added that he is willing to enter negotiations to re-enter either the Paris accord or an “entirely new transaction” on terms that are “fair to the United States and its workers”.
Mr Sanders, however, said that the decision will harm both the American economy and the global economy, adding that most Americans “understand the severity of this crisis”. He added that climate change will cause major damage to our environment and has the potential to cause additional problems such as mass migration.
Tickets for the event hosted by economist David McWilliams sold out in less than five minutes. The 75-year-old Senator has earlier met President Michael D Higgins at Aras an Uachtarain.
The Stop Climate Chaos coalition held a rally outside the US Embassy last Friday to protest Mr Trump’s decision to play “Russian roulette with humanity’s life support system”.
Last week, the Green Party leader Eamon Ryan TD said that the EU should consider sanctions against the US if Mr Trump withdrew from the Agreement. “He is making America a rogue state, that is now shamed within the international community.”
“If the reported withdrawal from the agreement proves true then our Government must come together with our European colleagues to consider what sanctions we should apply on the US administration,” he added.