Narendra Modi Xi Jinping
PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi JinpingReuters

The United Nations (UN) Environment chief Erik Solheim on Friday said India and China are showing strong leadership to fight climate change. Solheim made the statement shortly after the United States President Donald Trump announced that America was withdrawing from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement.

The UN Programme (UNEP) Executive Director said Trump's decision to pull out of the global climate accord will not deter the efforts of other countries to keep climate change in check. 

The Paris Agreement, which was signed in 2015, involves nearly 200 countries with a goal to limit global warming well below two degree Celcius above pre-industrial levels. Under the pact, the US had committed to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28 percent against its 2005 level by 2025. The US is the world's second-biggest carbon dioxide emitter behind China.

"The science on climate change is perfectly clear: we need more action, not less. This a global challenge. Every nation has a responsibility to act and to act now," Solheim said in a statement responding to Trump's announcement on Paris climate deal, according to PTI.

Donald Trump announces withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord: Were getting out
Donald Trump announces withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord

"The US decision to leave Paris in no way brings an end to this unstoppable effort. China, India, the European Union and others are already showing strong leadership. 190 nations are showing strong determination to work with them to protect this and future generations," Solheim said in a statement.

The UN environment chief said there is an incredible momentum on climate change from individual states, cities, private sector and citizens and a single political decision -- from the US -- will not derail the tremendous effort made by people worldwide to save the planet.

Solheim also urged all the parties involved in the deal to redouble their efforts, stating that the UNEP would work with everyone who is willing to make a difference. 

"Climate action is not a burden, but an unprecedented opportunity. Decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels will build more inclusive and robust economies. It will save millions of lives and slash the huge healthcare cost of pollution," the UNEP chief said.

climate change
A woman walks past a map showing the elevation of the sea in the last 22 years during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 at Le Bourget, near Paris, France.Reuters

"Committing to climate action means helping countries like Iraq and Somalia on the front line of extremism and terrorism. It means helping coastal communities from Louisiana to the Solomon Islands," Solheim added.

The UN environment chief also said being part of the climate deal also means protecting food security and building stability to avoid adding more refugees to the burgeoning global humanitarian crisis.

 "It will put aside differences to tackle a common, monumental challenge. The reversal of damage to the ozone layer proves that such a global effort can succeed. Ultimately, this is an investment in our own survival that no-one can afford to abandon," he added.

The decision to back out of the global climate has put the US in the league with Syria and Nicaragua as the world's only non-participants in the Paris Agreement.