Trump to Leave Paris Pact, Elon Musk Exits White House Councils

Trump’s declaration of the US’s departure from the Paris pact has seen an international backlash. 

3 min read
Donald Trump said he will withdraw the United States from the landmark 2015 global agreement to fight climate change. (Photo: AP)

US President Donald Trump on Thursday said he will withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Accord – a landmark 2015 global agreement to fight climate change, spurning pleas from US allies and corporate leaders in an action that fulfilled a major campaign pledge. Trump said at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden:

We’re getting out.

Trump tapped into the "America First" message he used when he was elected president last year, saying:

I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris. We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us any more. And they won’t be. In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

Former US President Obama expressed his regret in a statement:

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.

Elon Musk Announces Departure from Advisory Councils

Decrying the Paris accord’s “draconian” financial and economic burdens, Trump said that American withdrawal “represents a reassertion of American sovereignty.” Trump said the United States would begin negotiations either to re-enter the Paris accord or to have a new agreement “on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers.”

Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Thursday he would leave White House advisory councils, following Trump’s announcement.

On Wednesday, Musk had said he had done all he could to convince Trump to not withdraw from the Paris accord.


Waves of Disappointment

Canada expressed its disappointment over the US President’s decision on Thursday. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said on Thursday:

Canada is deeply disappointed at the US position. The Paris agreement is a good deal for Canada and it’s a good deal for the world. No one country can stop action on climate change.

The German government’s Social Democrat ministers called President Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord damaging for Americans, Europeans and all other peoples of the world. The seven ministers from the left-leaning Social Democratic Party (SPD) said in a statement:

The land of the free and the home of the brave is contradicting its principles and is thereby putting itself at odds with a worldwide consensus.

The SPD is a junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition.

US Senator Bernie Sanders, who sought the Democratic presidential nomination last year, said:

At this moment, when climate change is already causing devastating harm around the world, we do not have the moral right to turn our backs on efforts to preserve this planet for future generations.

The US Was Not Always Anti-Environment

The United States was one of 195 nations that agreed to the accord in Paris in December 2015, a deal that former US President Barack Obama was instrumental in brokering. Maintaining his stance on the climate accord, Obama said in a statement:

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.
Supporters of the accord condemned Trump’s move as an abdication of American leadership and an international disgrace. Under the pact, which was years in the making, nations both rich and poor committed to reducing emissions of so-called greenhouse gases generated by burning fossils fuels and blamed by scientists for warming the planet.

The United States had committed to reduce its emissions by 26 per cent to 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2025. The United States, exceeded only by China in greenhouse gas emissions, accounts for more than 15 percent of the worldwide total.


Not Even the Pope Could Convince Trump to Change His Mind

International leaders had pressed Trump not to abandon the accord. At their meeting last month, the pope gave Trump a signed copy of his 2015 encyclical letter that called for protecting the environment from the effects of climate change and backed scientific evidence that it is caused by human activity.

With Trump's action, the United States will walk away from nearly every nation in the world on one of the pressing global issues of the 21st century. The pullout will align the United States with Syria and Nicaragua as the world's only non-participants in the accord.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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