In an unsurprising but nonetheless disappointing move, President Trump has decided to withdraw the US from the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Adopted in December 2015 and signed by 195 members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the pact was the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal.
Speaking from the White House’s Rose Garden, Trump claimed that the Paris Agreement “disadvantages (sic) the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries”. He added that the administration would commence negotiations to re-enter the agreement, or establish a new deal, on terms deemed fair to the US.
The announcement brought widespread condemnation at home and abroad. Disney chief executive Robert Iger and Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla, both resigned from White House advisory councils in protest. Meanwhile the governors of Washington, New York and California have launched the “United States Climate Alliance” – a coalition of US states that are committed to upholding the Paris Agreement.
In addition, the leaders of France, Germany and Italy issued a joint statement condemning the move and saying that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated.
Theresa May expressed her “disappointment” in a phone call with the president but has been criticised for refusing to sign the joint European statement – perhaps weary of lending her support to the notion that a deal cannot be renegotiated at the request of one country.
For Trump, the move makes political sense. Some in his administration view climate change measures as a cover for socialist policies and it boosts his stock in the coal producing West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania – three politically valuable states that were key to his victory in November.
At least 34 people have died and dozens are still missing after a fire sparked when a lone gunman entered a casino in Manila and set gambling tables alight. Despite earlier reports that it was a terrorist attack sparked by the fact that ISIS has established a foothold in the Philippines, security forces have said that they believe it was an attempted robbery. The man apparently did not shoot anyone directly and made straight for the area where the casino chips were stored.
The IT failure which led to the cancellation of 700 British Airways flights and disrupted the travel plans of 75,000 passengers last weekend has been attributed to human error. According to The Times, a power supply unit was in working order but was shut down in a catastrophic blunder which is set to cost the airline £150 million in compensation payments.
This time next week we will know the result of the general election. For now, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has promised to create one million good-quality jobs whilst Theresa May will pledge to embrace “the promise of Brexit” in a speech on Teeside later today.
Business & Economy
The UK could be on the cusp of a property recession, according to Henry Pryor, the property expert who correctly predicted the peak of the housing market in 2007. House prices fell by 0.2% between April and May – the third consecutive monthly fall and the longest slump since 2009. Pryor said the current state of the market felt “scarily familiar” to previous property recessions.
Bank of England staff are voting on strike action in protest at a below-inflation pay offer. Unite, which represents security, catering, legal and HR workers at the bank, called the 1% pay rise “derisory” and also pointed out that the increase was at the discretion of line managers meaning some employees would receive no pay rise at all.
Marks & Spencer has committed to raising £25 million for mental health, heart and cancer charities, as well as to halve food waste as part of a new sustainability plan. Steven Rowe who took over as chief executive last year said that the retailer is “determined to play a leading role” in social change. However, campaigners have expressed disappointment that there was no pledge to implement the living wage for all workers.
The FTSE 100 finished yesterday up 23.82 points at 7,543.77.
Paddy Power was the biggest climber, rising 4.34%.
Barclays also started the day well after announcing that it had a sold a bigger than expected stake in its African unit – bringing in £2.2 billion - but fell back and closed just 0.5% higher.
Taylor Wimpey was the biggest faller, down 6.45%.
On the FTSE 250, bus and rail operator First Group saw its shares drop 5% despite posting a 23% rise in pre-tax profits for the year to the end of March.
On the currency markets, the pound was down 0.04% against the dollar at $1.28850 but climbed 0.25% against the euro at 1.1498 euros.
Amec Foster Wheeler, GoldStone Resources Ltd, Honeycomb Investment Trust, Mail.ru Group Ltd GDR (Reg S), Manx Financial Group, Silence Therapeutics, Sphere Medical Holding
UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) PMI Construction
International Economic Announcements
(10:00) Produce Price Index (EU)
(12:30) Unemployment Rate (US)
(13:30) Balance of Trade (US)
(13:30) Non-Farm Payrolls (US)
Columns of Note
In The Times’ Thunderer column, Jamie Oliver criticses the “misguided” Conservative proposal to abolish universal infant free school meals. He argues that free, nutritious school meals boosts academic attainment and sociability, particularly amongst the disadvantaged. He also points to the economy of scale that the school system has, meaning that the cost of the programme will not be reduced substantially be reducing the numbers who are fed.
The BBC’s Paul Adams questions whether “America alone” would be more fitting than “America first” as the Trump administration’s mantra. He highlights the unpredictable nature of US foreign policy under Trump and points to the growing consensus that America can no longer be relied on to lead the world.
Did you know?
The world record for holding your breath voluntarily is 24 minutes 3.45 seconds and was set by Aleix Segura Vendrell, a professional freediver, on 28th February 2016.
House of Commons
In dissolution. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.
House of Lords
In dissolution. The House will next sit on Monday 19th June.
No business scheduled.