President Trump Officially Pulls U.S. Out Of Paris Climate Agreement
- Author: Carolyn Briggs Jun 02, 2017,
Jun 02, 2017, 7:02
Abandoning the pact was one of Trump's principal campaign pledges, but America's allies have expressed alarm about the likely consequences. That means the US would remain in the agreement, at least formally, for another three-and-a-half years, ensuring the issue remains alive in the next presidential election.
As news emerged Wednesday that Trump planned to quit the Paris deal, business leaders and foreign heads-of-state began castigating the decision as a woeful abandonment of USA leadership.
Trump's move to withdraw of course also comes after his week overseas in Europe, where the President of the United States unmistakably failed to endorse Article 5 of the NATO treaty, unfortunately leaving our generations-old allies to question America's commitments.
Under former President Barack Obama, the US had agreed to reduce emissions to 26 percent to 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2025 - about 1.6 billion tons. France, Italy and German indicated they were ready to do more to help in the absence of US funds.
Trump's chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, has discussed the possibility of changing the USA carbon reduction targets instead of pulling out of the deal completely.
"It is clear that a decision by the White House to leave the Paris Agreement would further isolate the US not only in economic terms because the transition goes on but also in political terms", Trio said Wednesday. "In the dark world to which US President Donald Trump is dragging us, the hope and belief that this catastrophe can be stopped is disappearing".
"The nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created", he warned in a statement.
In triggering the official withdrawal procedures, Trump has sparked a lengthy process that won't conclude until November 2020 - the same month he's up for reelection, ensuring the issue becomes a major topic of debate in the next presidential contest.
The immediate impact of Trump's move could be largely symbolic.
In a rare statement about current political events, former President Barack Obama, whose administration negotiated the Paris accord, wrote Trump's decision would leave American workers behind those in countries who remain a part of the agreement.
Trump, a former reality star himself, advertised the announcement in a tweet late Wednesday.
"We are convinced that the implementation of the Paris Agreement offers substantial economic opportunities for prosperity and growth in our countries and on a global scale", the three leaders said. Leaving that would mean abandoning all worldwide cooperative efforts on climate change. Others, like Apple CEO Tim Cook, had called Trump in the days before his decision to encourage him to remain in the deal.
But anti-Paris voices, led by chief strategist Steve Bannon and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, appeared to win out. During Trump's speech, the faint sounds of protesters could be heard in the distance banging drums.
Trump said it was his solemn duty to protect "America and its citizens" and that the U.S. would "withdraw from the Paris climate accord, but begin negotiations to re-enter the Paris accord or a new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States". Aides were deliberating on "caveats in the language", one official said.
Business investors seemed pleased, with stock prices, already up for the day, bumping higher as he spoke and the Dow Jones industrial average rising 135 points for the day.
The US is the world's second-largest greenhouse gas emitter and would otherwise have accounted for 21 per cent of the total emissions reductions achieved by the accord through 2030. Beijing, however, has reaffirmed its commitment to meeting its targets under the Paris accord, recently cancelling construction of about 100 coal-fired power plants and investing billions in massive wind and solar projects.
"I believe that if the administration follows through on this and pulls out of the agreement there will be a huge space open to governors and mayors to step up to the challenge and talk about what's happening in the USA and how the president doesn't represent the will of the people and the plans of their governments", John Coequyt, global policy director for the Sierra Club, said Wednesday.
Jonathan Aikenbaum, Greenpeace Israel campaigner, accused Trump of "taking his administration in the opposite direction of the rest of the world".
The White House invited representatives from several groups that support withdrawing from the Paris accord, including staff from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank with close ties to the administration, and Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank that gets financial support from the fossil fuel industry.