President Donald Trump said a U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement is “in America’s economic interest and won’t matter much to the climate.”
“The United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord,” Trump said in the Rose Garden Thursday, announcing his pulling out of the Paris agreement, which the Obama administration joined in 2016.
“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Trump said.
Trump made good on his campaign promise to withdraw from the Paris agreement after months of internal struggle within the White House. Trump said Paris puts the U.S. at an economic disadvantage and is being pushed by economic competitors.
“This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States,” Trump, specifically singling out China and India.
China and India joined the Paris agreement in 2016, but neither have plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. China said it would “peak” emissions by 2030 and India has been promised foreign aid to boost green energy production.
“They can do whatever they want for 13 years. Not us,” Trump said of China.
China and India have plans to drastically increase coal production to fuel their growing economies.
Trump also said the U.S. would no longer send money to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which was created to fund green energy projects in poor countries. The Paris agreement required developed countries fund the GCF.
The Obama administration pledged $3 billion to the GCF, but was only able to give the fund $1 billion in 2016 before the Trump administration took over. Trump’s budget proposal zeroes out GCF funding.
As part of the Paris accord, the U.S. and other developed countries promised to give $100 billion in climate aid to poor countries by 2020.
Democratic lawmakers and environmentalists heavily criticized Trump’s decision to leave the Paris agreement, but the president rebuffed criticisms and argued the deal put the U.S. “at a very, very big economic disadvantage.”
“The agreement doesn’t eliminate coal jobs, it just transfers those jobs out of America,” Trump said, “and ships them to other countries.”
Trump already began the process of dismantling the Obama administration’s climate agenda, including rescinding executive orders and reviewing regulations.
White House aides said the administration would withdraw from the Paris accord using the process laid out in the agreement.
Under this process, the U.S. wouldn’t fully withdraw until November 2019 — more than two years from now.
Trump said during this time he would work with world leaders to renegotiate the Paris agreement.
He would “begin negotiations to re-enter the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction” that’s a fairer deal for Americans, Trump said. “We will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. If we can, that’s great. If we can’t, that’s fine.”
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