USA surrenders leadership on climate

"We are willing to work with all sides to jointly protect the Paris agreement process, promote the actual rules and regulations of the agreement in follow-up talks and effectively enact them, and promote global green, low carbon, sustainable development". As the world's financial superpower, the United States is key to mobilsing these funds, and also making available the latest, even patented, technology to the rest of the world. Whether or not China will replace - or will be allowed to replace - the U.S. as the global leader remains to be seen.

"Climate change is the great existential threat of our time".

The president of the World Coal Association, Benjamin Sporton, told Reuters that he had mixed feelings about Trump's announcement, adding he was eager to see a United States policy that actively promotes a place for coal in the global energy mix.

Referring to "the latest unfortunate decisions of the new administration", Tusk said that the European Union and China had "demonstrated solidarity with future generations and responsibility for the whole planet" by reaffirming their climate change commitment.

In Mexico, former President Vicente Fox criticized Trump's move, saying on Twitter: "He's declaring war on the planet itself". The other two are Syria and Nicaragua.

Defending the United Kingdom government's decision not to sign the declaration, Chief Treasury Secretary David Gauke said on BBC Newsnight: "Different countries will take different approaches in how we choose to express our opinion".

"Compliance to the deal could cost 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025", Trump said. While a US President may sign an "Executive Agreement", such agreements can be short-term because they can be undone by a subsequent president. "If we can't, that's fine", he said.

White House talking points obtained by The Associated Press said the Paris accord was "a BAD deal for Americans" and that the president's action would keep "his campaign promise to put American workers first".

But the ire and disengagement spreads well beyond tech: Disney CEO and Chair Robert Iger has resigned from the President's Council.

The Dow Jones closed up 0.6% following the widely expected announcement. American isolationism will serve to hasten the Asian Century - and leaves the opportunities of the world's energy transformation open for both China and India.

"Business Roundtable CEOs have long held the view that the consequences of climate change are potentially serious and far-reaching", Sonnesyn said.

White House officials acknowledged that under the deal, formal withdrawal may not take place until after the 2020 election. His boast that the USA will be "the cleanest and most environmentally friendly country on earth" rings hollow when combined with his decision already to wind back domestic environmental regulations.

On Friday the official Xinhua news agency said in a commentary that Trump's announcement came "to the regret of nearly all", although it was "anything but a surprise". He added that India and China were putting in efforts and showing strong leadership to combat the issue, reported PTI.

It is too soon to say what Trump's decision will mean for the fight against climate change.

American business leaders from such companies as Exxon, Conoco, Dutch Royal Shell, General Electric, Walmart, Apple and Microsoft urged Trump to stay with the Paris Agreement.

He said that Brussels and Beijing believe in "the full implementation, without nuances, of the Paris climate agreement", and underlined that there can be "no backsliding" on the pact.

Leading climate scientists say greenhouse gas emissions trap heat in the atmosphere and have caused a warming planet, sea level rise, droughts and more frequent violent storms.

  • Zachary Reyes