Sustainable Energy

On climate change, US can't walk out of room when heat is on, says UK environment secretary

Lukas Schulze | Getty Images

The U.K.'s secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs has said he "deeply" regrets President Donald Trump's approach to the landmark Paris Agreement.

"It is because environmental degradation is such a threat to future prosperity and security that I deeply regret President Trump's approach towards the Paris Agreement on Climate Change," Michael Gove said in a major speech on Friday.

"I sincerely hope the recent indications that the president may be minded to think again do signal a change of heart," Gove added.

At the beginning of June, President Trump caused shockwaves around the world when he announced the U.S. would withdraw from the agreement and commence negotiations to either re-enter it or renegotiate a brand new accord.

"Not only does this deal subject our citizens to harsh economic restrictions, it fails to live up to our environmental ideals," he said at the time.

Under the Paris Agreement, reached at the end of 2015, world leaders have committed to making sure global warming stays "well below" 2 degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

In his speech on Friday, Gove sought to explain the importance of countries working together.

"International co-operation to deal with climate change is critical if we're to safeguard our planet's future and the world's second biggest generator of carbon emissions can't simply walk out of the room when the heat is on," he said. "It's our planet too and America needs to know we can only resolve this problem together."

It remains to be seen whether Gove's comments influence the president or not. The two met in January, when Gove, along with German journalist Kai Diekmann, interviewed Trump at Trump Tower in New York. The article was published in The Times of London, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.