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Editorial: US pullout from Paris climate accord a betrayal of humanity's future

U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, a landmark international pact on climate change countermeasures, will adversely affect the global environment and the U.S. itself in the long run. Put plainly, it is a betrayal of humanity's future.

Claiming that the accord is unfair to the U.S. and a drag on its economy and employment, Trump says Washington will renegotiate the pact or initiate talks on a new climate change framework. Meanwhile, he has repeatedly said he believes that global warming is a "hoax." That puts him directly at odds with the international community, which shares the scientifically based view that climate change is both real and progressing. It is only natural that the U.S., the world's second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is being urged to contribute more to global warming countermeasures.

The world shift to striving for a low-carbon society has grown stronger since the Paris Agreement came into force in November 2016, and it is now widely understood that climate change countermeasures represent new business opportunities. It would be far more beneficial to the future of the U.S. economy for the country to increase investment in renewable energy, spur technological innovation and thus lead the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, Trump talks of reviving the moribund, CO2-spewing coal industry.

This is why leading U.S. companies including those in the IT, financial and even the oil industries have voiced opposition to the pullout from the pact. States including New York and California have declared they will work to implement tie Paris Agreement terms despite the Trump pullout.

Trump has also declared that the U.S. will discontinue financial contributions to the U.N. Green Climate Fund, drawing protests from developing countries. It is not in the U.S.'s best interests to allow its international influence to decline due to the blind pursuit of an "America First" policy.

Parties to the Paris Agreement are supposed to work out detailed rules for implementing the pact by 2018. Each party should steadily make progress in their negotiations without being swayed by Trump's moves. If the signatories support global warming countermeasures being implemented by U.S. companies and local governments, it would remind Trump of the pact's importance.

The Group of Twenty (G-20) leaders should convince Trump during the July summit conference to reverse his decision to pull the U.S. from the Paris Agreement.

The Japanese government is drawing up a long-term strategy for achieving greenhouse gas emission reductions of 80 percent by 2050, as required by the pact. Some parties have already announced their strategies. Tokyo should speed up its efforts to work out its strategy in order to join hands with other countries in trying to persuade Trump to change his mind.

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