2nd comm nilza senaEconomic and environmental committee chair Nilza Sena speaks at the OSCE PA's Bureau meeting in Copenhagen, 24 April 2017COPENHAGEN, 2 June 2017 – Nilza Sena, Portuguese Member of Parliament and Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s economic and environmental committee, responded with deep disappointment following the announcement of the U.S. President Thursday to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015. The formal withdrawal is expected to go into effect in November 2020.

Stressing that the Paris Agreement remains the best path forward to collectively address the threat of climate change, Sena criticized the U.S. administration for backsliding on its international commitments.

“President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the landmark Paris Agreement is ill-advised and imprudent. His actions are an abdication of U.S. leadership and threaten to set back decades of diplomacy on climate action, potentially undermining the international community’s collective response to one of the greatest threats faced by the planet today,” Sena said. “I reiterate the statements of a number of OSCE countries, including Germany, France, and Italy, who have indicated that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated.”

She welcomed, however, a number of efforts on the subnational level in the United States to continue working within the Paris Agreement’s framework. “It is hopeful to see initiatives taking place to move the U.S. forward on climate action despite the White House decision, including efforts such as the Climate Alliance of individual U.S. states and the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda,” she said. “The international community should support these efforts and work with all relevant partners combating climate change.”

The issue of climate change is expected to feature prominently at the OSCE PA’s 26th Annual Session being held 5-9 July in Minsk.

Marietta Tidei (MP, Italy), Rapporteur of the economic and environmental committee, has authored a resolution to be considered in Minsk that “urges all OSCE participating States to recognize the urgency of the climate crisis and its related challenges, including migration, and to implement policies on the international, national and subnational levels to move rapidly into a low-carbon economy, as well as take steps to mitigate the effects of climate change already taking place.”

The resolution also expresses regret over President Trump’s executive order in March to ease restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, noting that this “represents a significant step backward in efforts to combat global warming.”