A decision by Trump to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement has caused a flood of reactions, including one from Prince Albert II. Even before the Prince’s Palace published an official statement in which the Sovereign expressed himself without compromise, entrusted us with his analysis: “It is a very grave historical error and a very bad sign for the international community. When a large country retreats on a commitment it has made at the highest international level, it is very serious.” The Prince pointed out that the United States is joining the only two countries that have not committed to fighting global warming: Syria and Nicaragua. “It’s not very glorious.” Indeed, 195 of the 197 countries recognized by the UN signed the Paris Agreement, negotiated at the end of 2015 at the COP21. They are all committed to limiting global warming to a maximum of 1.5 °C by 2050. The last country to sign the treaty was Uzbekistan on the 19th of April.
“I am extremely disappointed.”
However, nobody, not even a president of one of the most powerful countries in the world can dictate a global trend. On the contrary, according to Nicolas Hulot, this only “strengthens the determination of the rest of the world”.
“China, which has reaffirmed its commitments, will take the lead in furthering the positions of other countries,” said Prince Albert II. “If the signal from the United States is depressing, you have to keep hope. Moreover, large companies and large cities are developing with renewable energies.” The Prince is convinced: “If we do not put good practices in place right now, the results will be catastrophic. There is no alternative.”
Since his accession in 2005, Albert II has been an advocate for the environment. He regrets that very few Heads of State can commit to a policy in the long term. The Prince considers having “an enormous advantage”. He also notes that Donald Trump could have renounced a promise of a campaign certainly motivated by “bad advice”. “Once in office as the head of a state, reality sets in.”
Today, the Prince will travel to New York for three days of meetings and conferences on sustainable development (ODD) at the UN. It was here, last October, that he delivered the instrument of ratification for the Paris Agreement, adopted at the end of COP21 and was able to exchange views with the Secretary-General. Next week, he will meet Ban Ki-moon’s successor, Antonio Guterres. The Prince’s thoughts, particularly on the protection of the oceans, will certainly be part of the flood of reactions caused by Donald Trump’s decision. “I think others will share our indignation.”
“Responsible for our history”
After the publication of the Prince’s statement, Christophe Steiner, president of the National Council, confided his personal reaction. “I regret this decision, which, beyond America’s global reputation, puts a black mark on history. It is up to all the signatories of the Paris agreement to take up the torch, for the future does not belong to today’s men but to those who will come tomorrow, we have a moral duty to prepare a world for our children. I do not want the only version of the Earth we know now to become limited pictures in history books or documentaries. We are responsible to history.”
Chairman of the Environment Committee, Jean-Louis Grinda, immediately reacted to Donald Trump’s decision. The elected official was part of the delegation which had accompanied the Prince and the Minister of State to the COP21 in Paris, “Donald Trump withdrawing his country can only have a disastrous effect. The exemplar no longer exists. Not only is the United States allowing itself to not limit greenhouse gases, it also refrains from contributing to the international green fund that is substantial to the Paris Agreement. Does Trump have the moral right? I do not think so. Other countries must block to resist this withdrawal. Monaco has a role to play. The Prince’s leadership, on the international scene, is immeasurable.”
The Prince’s Statement
The cabinet of Prince Albert II sent a declaration from the Sovereign in reaction to the American withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate-change. “This decision is a very serious misjudgment for our planet and for future generations. It also undermines America’s global leadership and its own economic interests by underestimating the growth prospects offered by a decarbonized economy based on technological innovation. I want to believe that the people and cities of the American states that are already engaged in a virtuous cycle of transformation and those who understand their importance for future generations will continue their efforts to achieve low-carbon, sustainable and resilient economic growth. The Principality of Monaco affirms more than ever its commitment in the fight against global warming with ambitious objectives superior to those envisioned by the Paris Agreement. I invite all the nations of the world, signatories of this accord, to continue and confirm their commitments for a cause which concerns the preservation of our Earth and humanity.”