PHNOM PENH — A Cambodian official has said US President Donald Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Agreement is “unethical” and “irresponsible”.
Trump’s announcement that the United States would withdraw from the global accord drew ridicule from foreign leaders around the world and made the US one of only three countries not signed up to the accord, the others being Nicaragua and Syria.
Tin Ponlok, secretary general of the National Council for Sustainable Development at the Ministry of Environment, said it was “regretful” that Trump decided to abandon the agreement.
“It is actually abdicating responsibility, which in the agreement, it says that all the countries have to take joint responsibility for keeping the global temperature rise below two degrees,” he said.
“Greenhouse gas and fossil fuel reductions can affect the US economy. I think he [Trump] is a businessman, so he thinks like that.”
Cambodia, a member of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change since 1995, endorsed the Paris deal.
Ponlok said the move to leave the agreement was “unethical”.
“The rich countries never want to talk about compensation for the damage caused by climate change,” he said.
George Edgar, ambassador of the European Union to Cambodia, said the country is one of the most vulnerable to climate change, adding that the EU was spending millions of dollars on “targeted and ambitious” climate programs in the country.
David Josar, a US Embassy spokesman, said it would be premature to discuss possible changes to US climate change funding in Cambodia before the 2018 budget was finalized.
Tek Vannara, executive director of the NGO Forum, said that Trump’s “protectionism” would badly affect countries like Cambodia and urged the US to reconsider the move.
“If we talk about responsibility, which countries created the issue of climate change? They have to compensate, give resources and technical assistance and new technology to the affected poor countries,” he said.