Israel committed to Paris climate deal, no matter what Trump decides
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Energy minister: 'I hope that the US will continue to lead the global campaign to save the planet'

Israel committed to Paris climate deal, no matter what Trump decides

Hours before president to announce US stance, Yuval Steinitz says even if only 50% chance that climate change is man-made, world must act

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz attends the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, in Jerusalem, on February 20, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz attends the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, in Jerusalem, on February 20, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz on Thursday affirmed Israel’s commitment to the Paris climate agreement even if President Donald Trump announces that the United States will pull out.

“As Israel’s energy minister, I declare my commitment to reducing the use of polluting coal and replacing it with natural gas has not changed, regardless of the decision of the US president,” Steinitz wrote. “We will continue the process we have started — this year 60% of electricity was produced by natural gas,” he said.

He said that if there is even a chance that global warming is man-made, it is important for the US and the world to do as much as possible to save the planet.

“I hope that the US will continue to lead the global campaign to save the planet and the future of humanity,” he wrote in a Hebrew Facebook post. “Even if there’s a 50 percent probability that climate change and global warming are man-made phenomena, we must act to reduce those risks.”

President Donald Trump, accompanied by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, third from left, and Vice President Mike Pence, right, signs an Energy Independence Executive Order, March 28, 2017, at EPA headquarters in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Donald Trump, accompanied by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, third from left, and Vice President Mike Pence, right, signs an Energy Independence Executive Order, March 28, 2017, at EPA headquarters in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

He called the 2015 Paris agreement a “rare case in which the world united out of concern for the health for the future generations. It’s very important that — even if changes are made — that this historic initiative not fail.”

Trump has not given a clear indication of which way he is leaning, saying he’d been “hearing from a lot of people, both ways. Both ways.”

“I will be announcing my decision on Paris Accord, Thursday at 3 p.m. The White House Rose Garden. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” the US leader said in a tweet late Wednesday, punctuating the post with his populist campaign slogan.

America’s international allies and Trump’s domestic opponents lashed out Wednesday at media reports that he had made up his mind to pull the United States out of the global accord to curb carbon emissions, a move that would make the deal less effective.

The White House did not confirm those reports and it was unclear whether Trump would fully scrap US participation or merely water down US emissions objectives.

An American withdrawal would come fewer than 18 months after the historic 196-nation pact was signed in the French capital — the fruit of a hard-fought agreement between Beijing and Washington under Barack Obama’s leadership.

The European Union and China indicated they would press ahead with the deal, regardless of US participation.

The United States is the world’s second biggest carbon emitter, after China.

“China and the EU… will implement the agreement,” a senior EU official told reporters on Wednesday, on condition of anonymity. “The Paris Agreement will continue with full force of implementation even if the US pulls out.”

Under Trump, who once called climate change a “hoax,” the country has resisted intense pressure from its partners to commit to respecting the global accord.

AFP contributed to this report.

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