Irshad Salim — President Trump announced Thursday that the United States will withdraw from a 195-nation agreement on climate change reached in Paris in December 2015, a sweeping step that fulfills a campaign promise, while seriously weakening global efforts to combat carbon emissions and siding with conservatives who argued that the landmark 2015 agreement was harming the economy.
Before announcing his decision to withdraw from the Paris accord, Trump spoke on the economy by saying, “Before we discuss the Paris Accord, I’d like to begin with an update on our tremendous — absolutely tremendous — economic progress since Election Day on November 8th. The economy is starting to come back, and very, very rapidly. We’ve added $3.3 trillion in stock market value to our economy, and more than a million private sector jobs.
Trump also spoke about his overseas trip and said, “I have just returned from a trip overseas where we concluded nearly $350 billion of military and economic development for the United States, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. It was a very, very successful trip, believe me. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you.”
And then came the sweeping announcement which is bound to have a far-reaching effect on global climate change agreement between the developed and the developing nations.
Silicon Valley gurus Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella all said today that they remain committed to the environment and clean energy initiatives in the face of Trump’s decision.
Trump said that “In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord but begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States.”
“We are getting out. But 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,” Trump said.
Mr. Trump said that the United States will immediately “cease all implementation of the nonbinding Paris accord” and what he said were “draconian financial” and other burdens imposed on the country by the accord.
In his remarks, Mr. Trump listed sectors of the United States economy that would suffer lost revenues and jobs if the country remained part of the accord, citing a study — disputed vigorously by environmental groups — that claims the agreement would cost 2.7 million jobs by 2025.
Most Republicans applauded the decision.
Mr. Obama, in a rare assertion of his political views as a former president, castigated the decision.
“The nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created,” he said in a statement. “I believe the United States of America should be at the front of the pack. 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.”
And supporters of the Paris agreements reacted with pent-up alarm, condemning Trump administration for shortsightedness about the planet and a reckless willingness to shatter longstanding diplomatic relationships.
“This is disgraceful,” said Annie Leonard, Greenpeace USA’s executive director. “By withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, the Trump administration has turned America from a global climate leader into a global climate deadbeat.”
Corporate leaders also condemned Mr. Trump’s action. In a statement on its website, I.B.M. reaffirmed its support for the Paris agreement and took issue with the president’s contention that it is a bad deal for American workers and the American economy.
“This agreement requires all participating countries to put forward their best efforts on climate change as determined by each country,” the company said in the statement. “IBM believes that it is easier to lead outcomes by being at the table, as a participant in the agreement, rather than from outside it.”
Jeff Immelt, chairman and chief executive of General Electric, took to Twitter to say he was “disappointed with today’s decision on the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government.”
According to CNN, prior to Trump’s press conference today, tech leaders across the industry attempted to sway the president from following through on the withdrawal. Among those were Apple CEO Tim Cook, who called the White House on Tuesday to reportedly ask Trump to reconsider. A number of other companies signed a letter that was published today as a full-page ad in both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times expressing the same concern.
But Mr. Trump was resolute.
“It is time to put Youngstown, Ohio, Detroit, Mich., and Pittsburgh, Pa., along with many, many other locations within our great country before Paris, France,” he said. “It is time to make America great again.”