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US Backs Call to Save Oceans, but Notes Plan to Quit Climate Deal


Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres (L) speaks at the opening of The Ocean Conference at the United Nations in New York, June 5, 2017.

The United States supported a global call to action at the United Nations on Friday to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources, even as it noted President Donald Trump's plan to withdraw from a pact to fight climate change.

The first U.N. Ocean Conference ended on Friday with the adoption of a Call to Action, which said: "We are particularly alarmed by the adverse impacts of climate change on the ocean."

"We recognize, in this regard, the particular importance of the Paris Agreement, adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change," it read.

After the consensus adoption, David Balton, deputy U.S. assistant secretary for oceans and fisheries, reminded the summit "that on June 1 our president announced that the United States will withdraw from or renegotiate U.S. participation in the Paris agreement or another international climate deal."

President Donald Trump speaks about the U.S. role in the Paris climate change accord, June 1, 2017, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington.
President Donald Trump speaks about the U.S. role in the Paris climate change accord, June 1, 2017, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington.

Trump's decision to pull the United States from the landmark 2015 Paris agreement drew anger and condemnation from world leaders and heads of industry.

Speaking after the United States, French Ambassador for the Oceans Serge Segura received applause from delegates in the U.N. General Assembly after stating climate change was real.

"France is committed to upholding all of our obligations under the Paris agreement both for our welfare, but also for the welfare of the international community as a whole," he said.

The week-long ocean summit promoted partnerships, such as between governments and businesses, to address issues such as marine pollution, ocean acidification, and marine research. More than 1,300 voluntary commitments to save the ocean were made.

UNGA Chief: 'Climate Change, Ocean Acidification: Two Sides of the Same Coin'


Safeguarding the ocean was one of 17 goals adopted in 2015 by the 193 U.N. member states as part of an agenda for the world's sustainable development up to 2030. Another goal calls for "urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts."

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