President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement has even North Korea fuming.
The isolated dictatorship — one of 195 signatories to the historic climate accord — shamed Trump’s “selfish” and “ignorant” exit in a tongue-lashing Tuesday that somehow shoehorned in U.S. criticism of the North’s budding nuclear arsenal.
“This is the height of egoism and moral vacuum seeking only their own well-being even at the cost of the entire planet and, at the same time, a short-sighted and silly decision ignorant of the fact that the protection of the global environment is in their own interests,” a foreign ministry spokesman told the state-run KCNA news agency.
“The selfish act of the U.S. does not only have grave consequences for the international efforts to protect the environment, but poses great danger to other areas as well.”
Kim Jong Un inspects a farm.
Trump’s decision last week to yank the U.S. from the global pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions prompted widespread rebuke from foreign heads of state, American lawmakers and environmental groups.
The United States now aligns itself with Nicaragua and Syria, the only two nations that didn’t sign the deal.
North Korea — which called climate change “one of the gravest challenges the humankind is facing today” — has taken steps to comply with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which preceded the November 2016 Paris agreement.
The nation’s willing participation likely hinges on its long-endured food insecurity, energy shortages and climate change’s “potential to erode government control,” Australian lecturer Benjamin Habib wrote in May 2014.
“The fact that the nation has become more compliant over time suggests that the objectives of the international climate change regime coalesce with the survival imperatives of Kim Jong-un’s government,” Habib said.
In an analysis of the North’s 2016 document submitted to the UN convention, NK News said Wednesday the country’s plan for adapting to climate change seemed “generally appropriate and consistent with strategies described by other nations.”
President Trump announces his decision on the Paris climate accord on Friday.
(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
In fact, supreme leader Kim Jong Un in late 2015 “declared war on deforestation” and vowed to “actively engage” in global efforts to mitigate climate change, foreign minister Ri Su-yong said.
The reclusive nation had the “aim of reducing the country’s total amount of greenhouse gas emissions by 37.4% compared with the levels of the 1990s,” Ri added.
North Korea’s climate-change condemnation this week, of course, pivoted to slamming the United States’ opposition to its nuclear weapons program amid ever-heightening tensions between the two countries.
Former President Barack Obama and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shake hands as the U.S. formally joins the Paris climate agreement in 2016.
“The U.S. attitude towards the nuclear issue in the Korean peninsula is the typical example,” the North Korean foreign ministry said Tuesday.
“The hostile policy of the U.S. against the DPRK has grown so unreasonable and reckless today that they are even coercing other countries to sacrifice their relations with the DPRK under the pretext of ensuring the U.S security.”
The UN Security Council on Friday voted unanimously to expand sanctions against the North over its increasingly frequent missile tests and threats of further nuclear activity.
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