One of the world's most prominent human rights organization has slammed the decision of U.S. President Donald Trump to renege on his country's agreement on the Paris climate change accord.
The U.S. will become the only country in the world not signed on to the agreement which was consummated by the signing of 195 countries in 2015.
"Selfish, reckless and monstrous, the continued attempt to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement is potentially the most destructive act of the Trump presidency," Amnesty International's Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said Tuesday.
"President Trump may believe his commitment to fossil fuels will win him votes, but it will also cost lives. By putting his own personal agenda before the needs of the world's population, he is wilfully vandalizing global attempts to save humanity."
"The climate emergency is one of the greatest threats to human rights of our age, its effects wreaking famine, poverty and homelessness on great swathes of the globe. And as the world's second biggest carbon emitter, the U.S. has a pivotal role to play in preventing the human rights catastrophe that will be inevitable unless greenhouse gas emissions are drastically reduced," the Amnesty chief said.
"By pursuing an exit of the Paris Agreement, President Trump is sending a clear message to the hundreds of millions of people whose existence is threatened by the climate crisis: he doesn't care whether they live or die."
On Monday President Trump began a year-long process to formally exit the Paris climate agreement by officially notifying the United Nations of his intention. Ironically he will not be able to finalize the withdrawal until a day after the U.S. presidential election in November 2020.
The pact is the world's most ambitious climate change agreement, ratified by 125 countries and entering into force in November 2016. Under the Paris Agreement, the United States had committed to reduce emissions by 26 to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025.
Without strong action to prevent it, climate change is expected to cause 250,000 deaths per year between 2030 and 2050 due to malaria, malnutrition, diarrhea and heat stress. More than a billion people will see a severe reduction in water resources with a 2C rise in the global mean temperature. It would increase the number of people at risk of hunger by at least 600 million by 2080 and displace at least 330 million people through flooding, Amnesty said in a statement published on Tuesday.
Hundreds of millions of people would be denied their rights to life, health, food, water and housing. The adverse effects are likely to be disproportionately experienced by those living in poverty, particularly women and girls, Indigenous Peoples and others disadvantaged due to discrimination.