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Donald Trump pulls US out of Paris climate deal, concerned over India, China: 5 things to know

US President Donald Trump said the Paris climate deal will undermine the US economy, cost US jobs, weaken American national sovereignty and put the country at a permanent disadvantage to other countries.

world Updated: Jul 13, 2017 23:39 IST
Donald Trump,Paris climate deal,Climate change
US President Donald Trump pauses as he announces his decision that the United States will withdraw from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington.(Reuters)

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he would withdraw the United States from the landmark 2015 global agreement to fight climate change, a move that fulfilled a major campaign pledge but drew condemnation from global leaders and executives.

Trump, tapping into the “America First” message he used when he was elected president last year, said the Paris accord would undermine the US economy, cost US jobs, weaken American national sovereignty and put the country at a permanent disadvantage to the other countries of the world.

“We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore. And they won’t be,” Trump said.

Here are five things you should know about Trump’s move:

1) The deal

The United States was one of 195 nations that agreed to the accord in Paris in December 2015. Under the pact, which was years in the making, countries both rich and poor committed to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases generated by burning fossils fuels and blamed by scientists for warming the planet.

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. But the national targets are voluntary, leaving room for the US and the nearly 200 other countries in the agreement to alter their commitments.

Leading climate scientists say greenhouse gas emissions trap heat in the atmosphere and have caused a warming planet, sea level rise, droughts and more frequent violent storms.

A “Global Trends” report prepared by the US Director of National Intelligence’s office, released on January 9, warned that climate change posed security risks because of extreme weather, stress on water and food, and global tensions over how to manage the changes.

Last year was the warmest since records began in the 19th Century, as global average temperatures continued a rise dating back decades that scientists attribute to greenhouse gases.

2) Trump’s concerns over India, China

Trump said India would get billions of dollars for meeting its commitment under the 2015 Paris Agreement and it - along with China - would double its coal-fired power plants in the years to come, gaining a financial advantage over the US.

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said pulling out of the deal was “abandoning America’s leadership in the fight against the climate crisis.”

“If President Trump wants nations like China and India to take stronger and swifter action on climate, then he should do so through the accountability and enforcement provisions in the Paris Agreement, not by breaking our word and storming out of the room,” Pelosi said.

3) Obama’s not happy

Former Democratic President Barack Obama expressed regret over the pullout from a deal he was instrumental in brokering.

“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,” Obama added.

“Today’s decision is a setback for the environment and for the U.S.’s leadership position in the world,” Goldman Sachs Group Inc Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein wrote on Twitter.

4) Anger world over

International leaders reacted with disappointment and anger.

“The decision made by US President Trump amounts to turning their backs on the wisdom of humanity. I’m very disappointed... In addition to being disappointed, I am angry,” Japanese Environment Minister Koichi Yamamoto told a news conference on Friday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said in a rare joint statement the agreement could not be renegotiated and urged their allies to hasten efforts to combat climate change. They pledged to do more to help developing countries adapt.

“While the US decision is disheartening, we remain inspired by the growing momentum around the world to combat climate change and transition to clean growth economies,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

China’s state news agency Xinhua published a commentary that described Trump’s move as a “global setback.”

China overtook the United States as the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2007.

5) All not over yet?

The Paris accord came into effect on 4 November 2016. It makes provision for parties to withdraw, but notice can be given only three years after it kicks in. Withdrawal would take effect a year after that, meaning November 2020, a date that coincides with the next US presidential election – raising the prospect that the issue remains alive during the campaign.

First Published: Jun 02, 2017 12:05 IST