NI politicians split over Trump decision to pull US out of climate change agreement
A former Northern Ireland Environment Minister has praised Donald Trump's "very wise" decision to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement.
DUP Westminster candidate in East Antrim, Sammy Wilson said the deal was "totally flawed" and that the US President was right to withdraw.
Mr Trump said he would try to negotiate a new, "fairer" climate deal. But the move to pull America out of the world's first comprehensive accord on tackling climate change drew international condemnation. China, the EU and India, which along with the US make up the four biggest emitters of carbon dioxide, restated their commitment to the agreement. A statement issued by the leaders of France, Germany and Italy said the deal cannot be renegotiated.
Mr Trump's move also angered environmentalists in Northern Ireland. South Belfast Green Party MLA and Westminster candidate Clare Bailey said: "Trump's decision is horrific. The agreement was set up to protect people and planet.
"It's time the UK steps up to the mark and leads by example."
In a phone call with Mr Trump shortly after his White House announcement, Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her "disappointment" at the move and stressed the UK remains committed to the landmark 2015 agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
But she faced fierce criticism for failing to add her name to the joint statement by the other international leaders. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused Mrs May of "subservience" and a failure of leadership in not signing up to the statement.
And Ms Bailey added: "Theresa May's response to Trump pulling out has been weak and wobbly. For the US not to step up and take responsibility at a global level is putting everyone at risk."
However, Mr Wilson, who as Environment Minister said he believed man-made climate change was a con, praised President Trump's decision, saying: "The very wise decision by the US President to pull out of the totally flawed and pointless Paris Climate Change agreement, presents huge problems for the UK and the government's ongoing trade and industry strategy.
"It also raises big issues for an energy-expensive area like Northern Ireland which has the most expensive electricity costs in the UK." He said the Paris agreement had been "a delusion".