The Elders condemn US for quitting Paris climate agreement: no one country can dismantle it.

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LONDON, 1 June 2017

The Elders condemn US for quitting Paris climate agreement: no one country can dismantle it.

The Elders condemned the decision by President Trump to quit the Paris Agreement on climate change. They insisted that the decision does not mean the demise of the Paris Agreement, and urged other signatories to continue to respect its provisions.

Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders, said:

“Climate change is the great existential threat of our time. The Paris Agreement was born out of effective multilateralism and a desire to find a cooperative solution to a global problem. No one country can dismantle the Agreement. While the US withdrawal weakens that international accord, it will not trigger its demise.” 

The focus must remain on implementation of the Paris Agreement, with the remaining Parties continuing to show commitment and ambition to increase their efforts to address climate change, The Elders said. Within the United States, businesses and state authorities can and must take action where the federal government has withdrawn, they added.

Mary Robinson, Elder and former UN Special Envoy on Climate Change, said:

“The US reneging on its commitment to the Paris Agreement renders it a rogue state on the international stage. But the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement will not stop climate action in the United States. At state level, in cities, in businesses and communities around the country the move away from fossil fuels is well underway. We encourage all actors in the US working to tackle climate change to stand their ground, share the benefits of their work and to keep making their voices heard.”  

The Elders repeated their concern at the US Administration’s decision not to provide climate finance to help developing countries to address climate change.

Gro Harlem Brundtland, Deputy Chair of The Elders, former UN Special Envoy on Climate Change, and former Chair of the Brundtland Commission that established the concept of sustainable development, said:

“President Trump’s decision to quit the Paris Agreement and slash US funding for the Green Climate Fund weakens the already frayed bonds of trust between developed and developing countries. It places an enormous burden on other industrialised countries to mobilise the $100 billion per year promised to support climate action in developing countries. We call on countries, states, investors and businesses around the world to mobilise investment in the green economy and create a sustainable future for all.” 

About The Elders

The Elders are independent leaders using their collective experience and influence for peace, justice and human rights worldwide. The group was founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007.

The Elders are Martti Ahtisaari, Kofi Annan (Chair), Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Harlem Brundtland (Deputy Chair), Hina Jilani, Ricardo LagosGraça MachelMary Robinson and Ernesto Zedillo.

Ela BhattFernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu are Elders Emeritus.

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For biographies of the Elders, blogs, photos, videos and more information about their work please go to

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