Trump Leaves Paris Climate Deal
President Donald Trump is withdrawing the US from the Paris agreement on climate change, a UN treaty signed by almost 200 nations in 2016 and considered a major achievement by his predecessor, Barack Obama.
The decision was announced Thursday afternoon in the White House Rose Garden.
“In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the US will withdraw from the Paris climate accord,” Trump said.
His administration will begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris accord or another climate treaty, “on terms that are fair” to the US, Trump added.
“As of today, the US will cease all implementation” of the Paris accord and the “draconian” burdens it mandated, he said.
Implementing the pact would have the US cost trillions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lost industrial job, with massive reductions to the production of paper, cement, iron and steel, coal, and natural gas, Trump said, explaining his decision.
Republican U.S. congressional leaders backed Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell applauded Trump “for dealing yet another significant blow to the Obama administration’s assault on domestic energy production and jobs.”
Supporters of the accord, including some leading U.S. business figures, called Trump’s move a blow to international efforts to tackle dangers for the planet posed by global warming.
Former Democratic President Barack Obama expressed regret over the pullout from a deal he was instrumental in brokering.
“But even in the absence of American leadership; even as this administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got,” Obama added.
Trump, who has called climate change a hoax, said his administration would begin negotiations either to re-enter the Paris accord or to have a new agreement “on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers.” He complained in particular about China’s terms under the agreement.
International leaders reacted with disappointment, even anger.
“The decision made by U.S. President Trump amounts to turning their backs on the wisdom of humanity. I’m very disappointed… I am angry,” Japanese Environment Minister Koichi Yamamoto told a news conference on Friday in an unusually frank tone.
Over two dozen leading world corporations – including Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft – sent a letter to Trump on Wednesday, “strongly urging” him to remain in the Paris pact and saying it was beneficial to both the economy and the environment.
In a statement issued after the White House announcement on Thursday, May expressed “disappointment,” but declined to sign a joint letter from France, Germany and Italy condemning the move.
Instead, she told Trump in a personal phone call that she believed the Paris agreement represented “the right global framework for protecting the prosperity and security of future nations.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused May of “subservience to Trump” and failing to show leadership.
“Given the chance to present a united front from our international partners, she has instead opted for silence and once again subservice to Donald Trump,” Corbyn said on Friday during a speech on industrial policy.
“It’s a dereliction of both her duty to her country and our duty to our planet. This is not the type of leadership Britain needs to negotiate Brexit or stand up to defend our planet in an era of climate change,” he said.