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US withdrawal from Paris agreement may affect climate change: former UN chief Ban Ki-moon

Key Points
  • Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said he is concerned about mobilizing the necessary financial support to address climate change issues with U.S. withdrawal from the Paris agreement.
  • Ban said there may be a need for $4 trillion annually to cover all 17 sustainable development goals to be reached by 2030, according to OECD projections.
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'We cannot negotiate with nature': Ban Ki-moon

The withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement in 2017 may make it hard to raise the money to fight climate change, former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon warned on Tuesday.

Speaking to CNBC at the Singapore International Water Week, he said: "Now with the United States pulling from this Paris agreement, I’m concerned now how to mobilize the necessary financial support for many developing countries who do not have the capacity to address this climate change issues. They do not have any responsibilities historically speaking. Therefore it is absolute necessary that the international community uses its political will to work on this matter.”

He added, "I sincerely hope that the U.S. will come back as it realizes it has a global moral political responsibility ... U.S. is the only country now who is stepping back from this global agreement.”

Adelie penguins stand atop a block of melting ice on a rocky shoreline at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay, in East Antarctica.
Pauline Askin | Reuters

In 2016, the United States and China issued a joint statement confirming that both countries would sign the Paris Climate Agreement, which aims to tackle global warming, among other targets.

But U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2017, saying the accord would have cost America trillions of dollars, killed jobs, and hindered the oil, gas, coal and manufacturing industries.

Ban told CNBC's Oriel Morrison that there may be a need for $4 trillion annually to cover all 17 sustainable development goals to be reached by 2030, according to OECD projections.

"It is not the amount of money that is at stake," he said. "If there is a political commitment by the important industrialized countries including European Union and also of course United States, then we can mobilize this money.”

— Reuters contributed to this report.

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Key Points
  • The Paris accord can go on to succeed even without the U.S., experts told CNBC, because of the climate treaty's differences with its predecessor and growing concerns about the threat of climate change.
  • "The Paris accord was designed to address the flaws of the Kyoto Protocol," said Chris Field, the director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.