The European Commission president has said that it was the duty of Europe to stand up to the US if President Donald Trump decides to pull his country out of the Paris climate change accord. Jean-Claude Juncker said that the Americans can't just get out of the agreement, adding that it takes three to four years to pull out.
He added that the EU and China will also spell out how they plan to meet their commitments to the landmark international accord to fight global warming at talks in Brussels on Thursday.
Juncker went on to say that the Group of Seven leaders tried to explain this in clear simple sentences to Trump at a recent summit in Italy. He said that even though it looks like that attempt failed ... the law is the law.
In a jibe at the US administration, Juncker told the audience at an event of the Confederation of German Employers in Berlin that not everything that is written in international agreements is fake news.
Juncker said, If the US president pulls out of the Paris agreement, and he will in the next days or hours, then it is Europe's duty to say that that is not how it works.
A White House official said earlier in the day that Trump was planning to pull out of the Paris accord, although a final decision hadn't been made. Trump on Wednesday declared that abandoning the Paris climate agreement would be a victory for the US economy.
The European Union and China, meanwhile, will reaffirm their commitment to the Paris accord this week regardless of whether the US pulls out of the pact, a senior EU official said.
The official told reporters that the EU and China will also spell out how they plan to meet their commitments to the landmark international accord to fight global warming at talks in Brussels on Thursday.
The official is involved in preparing the meeting between EU Council President Donald Tusk, Juncker and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, but can't speak on the record because their meeting statement wasn't finalized. Li and a major Chinese delegation are due to arrive in Brussels on Thursday following talks in Berlin.
The EU and China are joining forces to forge ahead on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and accelerate the global transition to clean energy, EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said about the upcoming EU-China summit, stressing they remain committed to Paris.
A White House official said on Wednesday that there could be caveats in the language announcing a withdrawal, leaving open the possibility that his decision isn't final.
That possibility was met with derisive howls from EU lawmakers when a session of the European Parliament was informed about it.
Climate change is not a fairy tale. It is a tough reality which affects peoples' daily lives, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said in a statement.
People die or are obliged to leave their homes because of desertification, lack of water, exposure to disease, extreme weather conditions. If we don't act swiftly and boldly, the huge human and economic cost will continue to increase.
Tajani suggested that Washington's withdrawal should be a signal for Europe to step up its efforts — and reap the benefits.