Trump withdraws the US from Paris Climate Agreement

Published by Niall Sargent on

June 1st, 2017

President Donald Trump has formally announced that he will withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Agreement.

Speaking from the White House Rose Garden this afternoon, Mr Trump finally announced his decision after days of teasing the world through social media.

The decision puts the Agreement’s goal of limiting global average temperature to within 2°C above pre-industrial levels in doubt.

The US is estimated to be responsible for 15 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, second only to China as the world’s main emitter.

Trump said that the decision to withdraw is justified as the Agreement “handicaps the United States economy”.

He added that he is willing to enter negotiations to re-enter either the Paris accord or an “entirely new transaction” on terms that are “fair to the United States and its workers”.

Article 28 of the Agreement allows countries to withdraw from the third year after the Agreement entered into force, which would be November 2019 for the US.

The decision puts the US in line to join only Nicaragua and Syria as non-participants in the Agreement. Germany and China vowed today to expand their partnership and pledged to continue fighting climate change.

In December 2015, more than 190 countries adopted the Paris Agreement, the most ambitious climate change agreement in history. Then US President Barack Obama signed the agreement into force in the US in September 2016.

Following the decision, Mr Obama said that the nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will “reap the benefits in jobs and industries created”.

“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 added.

Yesterday, the Green Party leader Eamon Ryan TD said that the EU should consider sanctions against the US if Mr Trump withdrew from the Agreement.

Mr Ryan added: “He is making America a rogue state, that is now shamed within the international community.”

“If the reported withdrawal from the agreement proves true then our Government must come together with our European colleagues to consider what sanctions we should apply on the US administration,” he added.

Friends of the Earth (FoE) Ireland and Stop Climate Chaos, together with the Green Party, will hold a protest tomorrow at 1pm at the Embassy of the United States in Dublin.

“Trump may leave Paris but people power will ensure the next US president is racing to rejoin us,” said Oisín Coghlan, Director of FoE Ireland.

He urged people to join the protest tomorrow to show Mr Trump that the “rest of the world is moving on without him”.

“Trump is committing a foolish and reckless act but countries, companies and citizens around the world are already moving ahead towards a cleaner, healthier, fossil-free future,” he added.

Earlier this week, Mr Trump said that he will make a “final decision” on the Paris agreement over the next few days.

On Saturday, Axios reported that Mr Trump has privately told close confidants, including Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, that he plans to leave the landmark climate deal.

Mr Trump faced pressure from world leaders to support the historic agreement during last week’s G7 meeting in Italy.

Following meetings on the issue of climate change, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that discussions over the Paris Agreement were “very unsatisfactory” leaving “no sign of whether the US will remain in the Paris accord or not”.

The heads of the other six G7 nations signed a communique at the weekend reaffirming their “strong commitment” to implement the Agreement without delay.

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Niall Sargent

Niall is the Editor of The Green News. He is a multimedia journalist, with an MA in Investigative Journalism from City University, London