Tuesday 22 October 2019

President Higgins criticises Donald Trump on climate change on eve of Ireland visit

President Michael D Higgins. Photo: PA
President Michael D Higgins. Photo: PA
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has issued a thinly-veiled criticism of Donald Trump on the eve of the US leader’s visit to Ireland.

Without naming Mr Trump, the President accused the United States of engage in “regressive and pernicious” decision-making around climate action.

It is now just over a year since the White House pulled out of the historical Paris climate change agreement.

Mr Trump claimed the voluntary deal,, aimed at curbing global temperature rise to under 2C, was “draconian” and would cause a “very diminished quality of life” for Americans.

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” the controversial billionaire said last June.

Speaking at the European Federation of Public Service Unions Annual Congress in Dublin today, Mr Higgins said the EU must now plan for the full decarbonisation of economics by 2050 and encourage the rest of the world to follow suit.

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump meet Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip at Downing Street, as part of his state visit in London, Britain, June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump meet Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip at Downing Street, as part of his state visit in London, Britain, June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

He said the USA needs to be urged “in the strongest possible terms the USA to re-consider its regressive and pernicious decision to leave the global Paris Agreement”.

The timing of the comments will be seen as a direct slight on Mr Trump less than 24 hours before he is due to land in Shannon Airport.

Climate change is expected to be on the agenda when he meets with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tomorrow evening.

Meanwhile speaking in London this afternoon, Mr Trump once again waded into the Brexit debate saying it would be “good” for the UK to leave the European Union.

“I understand the issue very well. I predicated what was going to happen.

“I would think it will happen and it probably should happen,” he said.

He said Prime Minister Theresa May had brought Brexit “to a very good place” and he is prepared to do a “great and very comprehensive trade deal”.

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