Targeting India and China, President Donald Trump on Thursday pulled the United States out from the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement to fight climate change, a move that fulfilled a major campaign pledge by Trump. With the move, US joins Nicaragua and Syria as the only other non-participants to the accord, inked by 195 nations, including Washington, in Paris in December 2015. Trump had publicly shown his displeasure with the Paris Agreement, more recently at the G7 Summit when he refused to support global effort to combat climate change.
As the US walked away from one of the pressing global issues of the 21st century, it has struck a major blow to worldwide efforts to combat global warming and also distanced itself from its closest allies abroad. Trump said that in future the US could try to re-enter the Paris climate deal under more favourable terms but that was not a priority.
In an address in the White House Rose Garden, Trump said, “For example, under the agreement, China will be able to increase these emissions by a staggering number of years — 13. They can do whatever they want for 13 years. Not us. India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries. There are many other examples. But the bottom line is that the Paris Accord is very unfair, at the highest level, to the United States.”
“China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement. India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020. Think of it: India can double their coal production. We’re supposed to get rid of ours. Even Europe is allowed to continue construction of coal plants,” he added.
He said the US will begin negotiations to reenter the Paris Agreement “on terms that are fair to the United States, We will be environmentally friendly, but we’re not going to put our businesses out of work… We’re going to grow rapidly.”
News agency AP said that under former President Barack Obama, the US had agreed under the accord to reduce polluting emissions by more than a quarter below 2005 levels by 2025. In a statement, Barack 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. The US has joined a small handful of nations that reject the future.”