WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump today stunned the world with the announcement that the United States would withdraw from the landmark Paris Agreement that seeks to safeguard the planet from the increasingly disastrous impacts of climate change.
“In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord,” Trump, leader of the world’s second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, said in one of the most nervously-anticipated announcements ever.
Trump said he will begin negotiations to “re-enter” the Paris accord or “entirely new” agreement on “terms that are fair to US, its businesses, its people, its taxpayers,” he said.
Trump said the agreement was putting every other country at an advantage by putting America at a “great financial disadvantage”. He called the Paris agreement a “self-inflicted major economic wound.”
He said the deal was not tough enough on India and China.
“India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020,” he said, adding even Europe was allowed to do that.
Trump’s decision to withdraw means the United States will become just the third country to remain out of the Paris Agreement, the other two being Nicaragua and Syria, both of which, unlike the US, never joined.
Reaction to Trump’s decision
Supporters of the accord condemned Trump’s move as an abdication of American leadership, an international disgrace and a monumental foreign policy blunder. His predecessor, Barack Obama, expressed regret over the pullout from a deal he was instrumental in brokering, Reuters reported.
Former US President Barack Obama, who agreed to the Paris deal, immediately criticised the move, accusing the Trump administration of “rejecting the future”.
The leaders of France, Germany and Italy issued a joint statement rejecting a renegotiation of the agreement.
“We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris agreement cannot be renegotiated, since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies,” it said.
Canada was “deeply disappointed” by President Trump’s decision, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna told reporters.
Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk confirmed that he was leaving his role as an adviser to the Trump administration in protest.
“Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” he tweeted.