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President Trump announcing plans to withdraw from the Paris climate deal, June 1, 2017
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

 

President Trump Pulls U.S. Out of the Paris Climate Deal
Trump says the 2015 global agreement to fight climate change is a bad deal for the U.S.

By Patricia Smith

President Trump announced on Thursday that the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord, a 2015 pact signed by 195 nations. He says the agreement threatens the American economy and imposes unfair environmental standards on American businesses and workers.

Some of the president’s advisers, including Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, counseled Trump to abandon the deal.

Still, Trump’s decision comes despite pleas that the U.S. stay in the pact from heads of state, climate activists, corporate executives, and members of the president’s own staff. The U.S. is the world’s second-largest polluter, after China. Critics of the president’s move say leaving the global climate pact will weaken efforts to combat climate change.

The Paris agreement was intended to bring the world community together to battle rising temperatures. Under the agreement, each country’s plan for reducing emissions is voluntary. It is left to each nation to decide for itself how to reach those goals. The U.S. had pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. It had also pledged to commit up to $3 billion in aid for poorer countries by 2020.

In Trump’s view, the Paris accord represents an attack on the independence of the United States. He also sees it as a threat to the ability of his administration to reshape the nation’s environmental laws in ways that he says will benefit everyday Americans.

In his remarks, Trump listed sectors of the U.S. economy that would lose revenue and jobs if the country remained part of the accord. He cited a study—vigorously disputed by environmental groups—that suggests that the agreement would cost 2.7 million jobs by 2025.

But business leaders like Elon Musk of Tesla and Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric said the decision would ultimately harm the U.S. economy. They say it would make it more likely that the jobs of the future in clean energy and technology would go to overseas competitors.

“Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” Musk tweeted. He resigned from a White House business advisory board in protest.

Under the terms of the agreement, the withdrawal process could take nearly four years to complete. That means it would not be finalized until after the 2020 presidential election.

With the U.S. leaving the global climate agreement, other countries like China will likely step in and take a leadership role. At the same time, several large U.S. states, including California and New York, have vowed to continue to work toward fulfilling the terms of the Paris agreement, even without the support of the federal government.

With reporting by Michael D. Shear of The New York Times.