Trump says U.S. will abandon global climate accord

Alain Brian
Juin 2, 2017

Trump promoted his announcement Wednesday night on Twitter, after a day in which US allies around the world sounded alarms about the likely consequences of a USA withdrawal.

Speaking from the White House Rose Garden on Thursday, Trump said he chose to withdraw from the Paris pact because it was unfair to USA businesses and workers.

"We're getting out, but we will start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that's fair".

The three leaders say they regard the accord as "a cornerstone in the cooperation between our countries, for effectively and timely tackling climate change".

Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said the USA withdrawal was a major disappointment.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Ivanka Trump, the President's daughter and adviser, are among those who urged him to stay in the deal, arguing it would be beneficial to the United States to remain part of negotiations and meetings surrounding the agreement as a matter of leverage and influence.

"Energy companies, and I would say almost all, have a clear understanding that clean energy is good business", he said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg have this morning reiterated Australia's commitment to the Paris Agreement.

"California will resist this misguided and insane course of action".

"Generations from now, Americans will look back at Donald Trump's decision to leave the Paris Agreement as one of the most ignorant and risky actions ever taken by any president", Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said in a statement.

In a highly anticipated statement from the White House Rose Garden, Trump said the United States would abandon the current deal - but was open to negotiating a new one. More optimistically, major developing economies are poised to rise up to leadership roles, most notably China and India, the world's largest and third largest carbon emitters and, so far, the greatest success stories of the climate pact.

Trump complained that the deal gives other countries an unfair advantage over United States industry and destroys American jobs. "We remain committed to doing our part".

In a statement the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) called Trump's decision "misguided". He said he would seek to renegotiate the agreement - signed by more than 190 countries - in terms that would better benefit US workers.

I fully support @POTUS' decision on the #ParisAccord. The U.S. will continue to be a leader in energy technology, development, & delivery.

The President campaigned against the climate agreement past year as a candidate, and those close to him said he was insistent upon fulfilling his promises, despite urging from some members of his own administration to remain in the agreement.

Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist and the former head of Breitbart, had pressed Trump to stick with his campaign promise and leave the deal.

Congressional Republicans applauded the decision, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky saying Trump had "put families and jobs ahead of left-wing ideology and should be commended". Elon Musk, the tech billionaire and founder of Tesla, tweeted earlier this month that he spoke with Trump about sticking with the deal. It undermines America's standing in the world and threatens to damage humanity's ability to solve the climate crisis in time.

Robert Iger, the CEO of Disney, followed suit.

Before Trump even finished his full address, President Obama issued a statement opposing the withdrawal.

Last fall, Obama hailed the agreement as a "turning point for our planet".

The IIGCC, which counts Blackrock, UBS and HSBC Asset Management among its members, said: "'By opting out, the United States administration is failing to recognise what is already an inevitable and irreversible direction of travel away from dependence on fossil fuels and towards a low carbon future - with all the jobs, growth and innovation that this entails". "But even in the absence of American leadership; even as this Administration joins a small handful of nations to 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".

On Wednesday, global figures began reiterating their own commitment to the Paris deal as Trump prepared to withdraw.

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