President Donald Trump has confirmed the US is withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on climate change, defying pleas from the international community to reconsider his stance on global warming. The move serves as further indication of Trump’s dedication to his ‘America First’ campaign, with the President promising the withdrawal will “protect America and its citizens” from job cuts and “vastly diminished economic production”.
The announcement effectively confirms the world’s second largest greenhouse gas emitter will be stepping back from global efforts to address climate change and keep global temperatures from rising above an additional 1.5C. As of now, the US, Syria and Nicaragua are the only three nations in the world to oppose the global pact on climate change.
The historic move has prompted widespread international commendation, including from Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama
Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, Trump said he would begin negotiations to craft a new, fairer deal for US workers and businesses. “We will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine”, the President told correspondents.
However, the prospect of renegotiation was promptly vetoed by several countries, mere hours after the President’s announcement. In a joint statement, the leaders of Italy, France and Germany expressed their regret at Trump’s decision, but confirmed the treaty could not be renegotiated.
The historic move has prompted widespread international commendation, including from Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama. In a rare statement, the 44th President said the US was joining “a small handful of nations that reject the future”. Similarly, French President Emmanuel Macron criticised Trump’s move in a televised address, saying: “We all share the same responsibility to make our planet great again.”
There has also been an overwhelmingly negative reaction to the announcement from US industry leaders, with entrepreneur Elon Musk and Disney’s Robert Iger both resigning from the President’s Business Advisory Council in protest at the decision.
Despite announcing his intentions to withdraw from the agreement, President Trump did not disclose a timescale for doing so during his Rose Garden speech. According to expert calculations, the exit process is likely to take years, meaning it may not come into effect until after the next US presidential election in 2020. However, Trump has already begun to step back from the international fight against climate change by withdrawing US payments to the UN Green Climate Fund, which helps developing countries fight the effects of global warming.
While the US is reducing its role in tackling climate change, China – the world’s biggest polluter – is emerging as a champion for fighting global warming. China’s premier, Li Keqiang, is due to meet EU leaders in Brussels this week, and is expected to reiterate China’s previous commitments to combatting carbon emissions. With the US stepping back from international efforts, China and the EU look set to fill the vacuum.