IMF Chief Criticizes US Paris Withdrawal

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IMF Managing Director Lagarde moderates a forum. Source: Reuters

The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has joined the growing chorus of global leaders to criticize the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate deal.

“It’s obviously a great concern when the major economic player in the world disengages from the concerted approach to reducing the consequences of climate change,” Ms. Lagarde told Handelsblatt.

US President Donald Trump said last week the US would seek to re-negotiate the Paris agreement and re-enter on terms more favorable to American businesses and workers.

But European leaders swiftly rejected the US president’s call to renegotiate the Paris agreement. Ms. Lagarde, for her part, said she hoped there was “a way to bridge the difference and reconstruct the agreement so that countries deliver on the objectives that have been set.”

The IMF chief warned that US disengagement could create instability in the global system: “One thing I know is that nature doesn’t like a vacuum. If you leave a space, somebody will come in and take it.”

Experts predict that climate change will hit Africa particularly hard at a time when many countries on the continent are experiencing an economic downturn and are torn by conflict. In East Africa, 20 million people are in danger of starvation, the worst famine since World War Two.

Instability in Africa has triggered mass migration across the Mediterranean to Europe. On Monday, the G20 states will meet in Berlin to discuss ways to help African nations create robust economies that can provide for their peoples’ needs and stem the migration flow.

“Having people flee from many sub-Saharan countries to reach better shores is not a sustainable response,” Ms. Lagarde said. “Creating the economic circumstances where people can live, grow, be educated, and create value for themselves and their families at home is the way to go.”

The IMF chief said Germany and its European partners can rekindle flagging enthusiasm for the European project, particularly among young people, by working together to address the humanitarian crises that lead to migration.

Ms. Lagarde said: “I don’t know a better way to rally support and enthusiasm from young people throughout Europe than to say: ‘We want to help those in need, stop babies from dying and women from fleeing and being the victims of insufferable violence.'”

The full interview continues on the next page

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