Press TV – US President Donald Trump has said that he is pulling the United States out of the landmark 2015 global agreement to fight climate change, asserting US withdrawal “represents a reassertion of American sovereignty.”
“We’re getting out,” Trump said at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday.
“In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord,” Trump said, adding that “the Paris accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States.”
However, Trump also that he will begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris accord or “a new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers.”
“We are getting out, but we will start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that is fair,” he stated.
The move, which fulfills a campaign promise made just over a year ago, is a major rebuke of Democrats at home and world leaders who leaders had pressed Trump not to abandon the 197-nation accord.
Obama attacks Trump for ‘rejecting future’
Former US President Barack Obama was instrumental in brokering the Paris agreement. In a statement on Thursday, he expressed regret over Trump’s move, and accused him of “rejecting the future.”
“The nations that remain in the Paris agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created. I believe the United States of America should be at the front of the pack,” Obama said.
“For the nations that committed themselves to that future, the Paris Agreement opened the floodgates for businesses, scientists, and engineers to unleash high-tech, low-carbon investment and innovation on an unprecedented scale,” he added.
“But even in the absence of American leadership; even as this administration joins a small handful of nations that 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,” he continued.
Leaving Paris deal a ‘historic mistake’
Trump’s former Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, called his decision to leave the Paris climate deal a “historic mistake” that “leaves American workers” behind.
“A historic mistake. The world is moving forward together on climate change. Paris withdrawal leaves American workers & families behind,” she wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
Climate deal ‘not renegotiable’: Germany, France, Italy
Europe’s three biggest economies — Germany, France and Italy – have blasted Trump’s decision to pull out from the Paris climate agreement and said the pact was “not renegotiable.”
“We note the United States’ decision with regret,” the three countries said in a joint statement issued on Thursday.
“We are firmly convinced that the agreement cannot be renegotiated,” they added, referring to Trump’s claim that Washington was open to re-negotiations.
Macron: ‘Make our planet great again’
French President Emmanuel Macron, upset with the US president’s announcement, on Thursday presented his own version of Trump’s campaign slogan with a call to “make our planet great again.”
“I call on you to remain confident,” Macron said in a speech and on Twitter. “We will succeed because we are fully committed. Because wherever we live, whoever we are, we all share the same responsibility. Make our planet great again.”
He also urged “scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs [and] responsible citizens who were disappointed” by the US president’s action to make France their home.
“I call on them, come, and work here with us. To work together on concrete solutions for our climate, our environment. I can assure you that France will not give up the fight.”
US decision a ‘major disappointment’: UN
Meanwhile, a spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called the US decision to exit the Paris climate pact a “major disappointment.”
Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, however, added that the UN chief remained confident that US cities, states and businesses would “continue to demonstrate vision and leadership” by working for a low-carbon future.
“The decision by the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change is a major disappointment for global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote global security,” the spokesman said.
“It is crucial that the United States remains a leader on environmental issues,” Dujarric added.
Trump had vowed during the election campaign to “cancel” the Paris agreement within 100 days of becoming president on January 20 in order to bolster US oil and coal giant, which bankrolled his campaign.
Trump has labeled climate change a hoax, defying widening international support for the Paris Agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions. He has argued that the concept of global warming has been “created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.”
This is while Democrats and environmental groups have long argued against spending billions of dollars to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants when the same funds could help expedite the transition to wind and solar power.
The Paris Agreement entered into force on November 4, 2016 and has been signed by 197 countries, of which 135 have now formally ratified it, which represent more than 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Many nations have expressed hopes the US will stay, but they also believe the accord has enough backing to survive a withdrawal.
The Paris agreement seeks to halt average global warming at no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial temperatures by 2050. It also sets out a goal of reaching a limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius, if possible.
The adopted text acknowledges that the risks of climate change are much more serious than previously thought. The deal is to take effect in 2020.