WASHINGTON: Donald Trump has confirmed that he will withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement, in effect ensuring the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases will quit the international effort to address dangerous global warming.
The US will remove itself from the deal, joining Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries not party to the Paris agreement. There will be no penalty for leaving, with the Paris deal based upon the premise of voluntary emissions reductions by participating countries.
“In order to fulfil my solemn duty to the United States and its citizens, the US will withdraw from the Paris climate accord, but begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris accords or a really entirely new transaction, on terms that are fair to the United States,” the US president told press in the White House rose garden on Thursday.
“We will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair,” Trump said. “If we can, that’s great. If we can’t, that’s fine.” But Italy, France and Germany issued a joint statement shortly after Trump’s speech saying they believed the treaty could not be renegotiated.
Trump told the crowd outside the White House: “The fact that the Paris deal hamstrings the United States while empowering some of the world’s top polluting countries should expel any doubt as to why foreign lobbyists should wish to keep our beautiful country tied up and bound down … That’s not going to happen while I’m president, I’m sorry.”
He added: “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, issued a rare statement saying the new administration had joined “a small handful of nations that reject the future”. But he said that US 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”.
Former vice-president Al Gore called the move “reckless and indefensible”, while among the business leaders to express regret over the move was Jeff Immelt, chair and CEO of General Electric, who said “climate change is real” and “industry must now lead”.
Trump, who spoke after being introduced by a warm-up band playing the George Gershwin classic Summertime, argued that the Paris agreement disadvantaged the US to the benefit of other countries, leaving workers and taxpayers to absorb the costs and suffer job losses and factory closures. As of today, he said, the US will cease implementation of the nationally determined contribution and green climate fund, “which is costing the US a vast fortune”.