NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — The U.S. decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord last year is "dangerous nonsense," France's former prime minister said Friday, warning that the world's climate is worsening faster than imagined.
Laurent Fabius, who was instrumental in negotiations to establish the 2015 Paris accord, told a climate conference that the withdrawal of the world's second-largest polluter sets a "very bad example" to other countries wondering whether to stick to their commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
"President Trump's decision might not destroy the worldwide movement toward climate action but is a very serious blow," Fabius said, calling it a "race against time" to stop global warming as carbon dioxide emissions are on the rise.
Last year was one of the three warmest years on record, he said, and global temperatures could rise 2 degrees Celsius by 2050, a half-century earlier than the international community's intended target.
The key to whether global temperatures can be curbed depends on whether several South Asian countries follow through with the construction of new coal-fired power plants, Fabius said.
He said another challenge is establishing a roadmap for the implementation of the Paris agreement, which is expected to be approved in December amid difficult negotiations.
Fabius reiterated the need for a global environmental pact to prevent nations from backsliding on their environmental protection obligations.