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North Korea: US leaving Paris agreement 'selfish,' 'silly'

The only countries that are not a part of the Paris climate agreement are Syria, Nicaragua and the United States of America.
North Korea
Famine in North Korea left millions dead, making food security a priority for Pyongyang. Photo: Flickr/whoisthatfreakwiththecamera

North Korea, one of the most diplomatically isolated countries, called President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord “selfish,” “short-sighted and silly.”

Pyongyang issued a statement through its official news agency KCNA on Tuesday calling Trump’s decision, “the height of egoism and moral vacuum seeking only their own well-being, even at the cost of the entire planet,” CNN reported.

"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," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, ABC reported.

While the White House wouldn’t say whether or not Trump believes that climate change is real, North Korea took a clear stance.

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"Global warming is one of the gravest challenges that humankind is facing today," it said, ABC reported.

North Korea is part of the Paris agreement, unlike the United States, Nicaragua and Syria. Nicaragua isn’t part of the accord because it does not believe it goes far enough to fight against climate change.

North Korea previously issued a “declaration of war” against deforestation, and the country reportedly embraces renewable energy.

Trump said on Thursday that the landmark 2015 climate agreement threatened millions of jobs and productivity, and that he would start a multi-year process to withdraw from the deal, which has been signed by almost every other nation on Earth.

The governors of Washington, California and New York on the same day announced the creation of a "climate alliance” of states that would remain committed to the Paris goals. Hawaii Gov. David Ige has joined the alliance. Ige also signed a bill on Tuesday requiring state officials to plan a response to climate change that aligns the state with the standards and goals of the Paris pact, according to Scott Glenn, an environmental adviser to the governor.

"People come to Hawaii to enjoy its environment," Glenn said. "When climate change is threatening our reefs and threatening our weather … then it's threatening our economy, too.”

An overwhelming majority of scientists say human activity – including the burning of oil, gas and coal – is the main driver of rising global temperatures.

Scientists at the University of Hawaii said in April that sea-level rise driven by global warming will cause flooding of low-lying areas in the state dozens of times per year by 2050, and will increase the risk of dangerous interactions between tropical storms and seasonal high tides.

As a poorer country, North Korea has an interest in maintaining compliance with the United Nation’s climate conventions to stave off famine, drought, sea level rise and extreme weather.

"North Korea has strong incentives to fight climate change and its potential to erode government control,” Benjamin Habib, a North Korea expert at Australia's La Trobe University, told CNN.

Reuters contributed to this report.