"The withdrawal [of the United States] from the Paris agreement means for us only that in Europe we, along with other partners, will more actively combat the global climate catastrophe. This applies to Austria, this applies to other member states of the European Union and other countries beyond it," Van der Bellen, who used to lead the Greens, said in a speech at the Austrian World Summit on sustainable development.
The president noted US President Donald Trump's decision to leave the Paris accord only challenges Europe to double its efforts in order to do everything possible to protect the planet and save it for future generations.
The Paris climate agreement was adopted within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2015 and came into force in November 2016. The accord has been signed by more than 190 countries and ratified by nearly 150.
As stipulated in the international accord, all parties should maintain the increase in average global temperature at below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To this end, each party to the deal has agreed to cut their emissions to some extent, and is expected to produce its own plan for achieving these goals, determine the time line for the implementation of said goals, and then report on its progress.