Trump pulls US out of Paris Climate Agreement

By Anna Simet | June 02, 2017

In what he described as a move to fulfill his duty to protect America and its citizens, President Donald Trump has officially begun the process to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord.

In at a June 1 White House press conference, Trump officially announced his decision, stating that he was open to begin negotiations to re-enter on different terms, or initiate an entirely new transaction on terms that are “fair to the U.S., its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers. So we’re getting out,” he said. “But we will start to negotiate and we’ll see if we can make a deal that’s fair. If we can, that’s great. If we can’t, that’s fine.”

Trump used American jobs as the cornerstone of his speech, deeming the Paris agreement as a policy that disadvantages the U.S. and will result in the loss of jobs, lower wages, shuttered facilities and “vast economic reduction,” that would impose “draconian financial and economic burdens” on the U.S.

Trump said the [U.N.] Green Climate Fund, which aids poorer countries in adapting clean energy, is costing the U.S. a vast fortune, and, citing the National Economic Research Associates, said that the onerous energy restrictions placed on the U.S. could cost it 2.7 million jobs by 2025. By 2040, he said, it would result in close to $3 trillion in lost GDP and 6.5 million industrial jobs.

Trump also emphasized that major obligations have been placed on the U.S. under the agreement, while other countries, “the world’s leading polluters,” are allowed to continue increasing emissions and build more coal plants over the next decade-plus. “We can’t build them, but [China] can, according to this agreement,” he said. “India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020. Even Europe is allowed to continue construction of coal plants…in short, it doesn’t eliminate coal jobs, it just transfers them out of America and the U.S., and ships them to foreign countries. The agreement is less about the climate, and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the U.S.”

Trump mentioned renewable sources, stating that at a population growth of 1 percent, renewable energy could meet some domestic demand, but at 3 or 4 percent growth, which he expects, all forms of available American energy will be needed. Discounting the agreement’s overall potential to impact climate change, Trump said that even if it is implemented in full, with total compliance from all nations, “it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree Celsius reduction in global temperature by the year 2100… In fact, 14 days of carbon emissions from China alone would wipe out the gains from America’s expected reductions in the year 2030. After we have had to spend billions of dollars lost jobs, closed factories, and suffered much higher energy costs for our businesses and homes.”

Trump closed his remarks by reiterating that he is willing to negotiate the U.S.’s way back into Paris immediately, under terms that are fair to the U.S., or to negotiate a new deal, and promised to ensure that America remains the world’s leader under environmental issues, “but under a framework that is fair, and where the burdens and responsibilities are equally shared among many nations all around the world.”

Following the announcement, France, Germany, Italy issued a joint statement expressing regret that the U.S. will withdraw, but that the Paris climate accord is irreversible, and cannot be renegotiated.

Most bioenergy industry leaders have not released statements on withdrawing from the agreement, which could take years to complete, raising the question of whether it could be undone if Trump is not re-elected.

BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director Kim Glas called the decision “an abdication of this country’s responsibility to fight the climate crisis and to capitalize on the significant job-creating opportunities in a clean economy.

“The United States should lead the world in driving the significant economic growth and job creation that comes from designing, manufacturing, and installing the clean energy technologies and infrastructure required to reduce the pollution that is driving climate change,” Glas said. “This agreement will hold all countries accountable for their emissions, and it is a critical tool at our disposal to create a level playing field for American manufacturers in the race against China and countries in the European Union to build the clean technologies of the future.”

Bob Keefe, executive director of the national, nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs, said Trump is ceding American leadership, and sending a message to clean energy investors to look elsewhere for opportunities. “It will inflict real financial pain on millions of American workers who earn their paychecks every day in the clean energy and clean transportation sectors,” Keefe said. “This action ignores strong public support for the agreement voiced by American businesses, big and small, in every state and every industry.

Advanced Biofuels USA executive director Joanne Ivancic said her organization has faith that the world will continue to develop technologies and products to address climate change, improve air quality, and develop truly sustainable, renewable fuels for transportation, cooking, heat and power with or without the U.S. government’s formal participation in the Paris Agreement.  “Advances took place without U.S. participation in the Kyoto Accords,” she said. “The world’s efforts to make this a better world obviously do not depend on U.S. government policy.  Lack of leadership in this area from the U.S. government does not mean lack of leadership from the American people, organizations or companies.

The Industrial Energy Consumers of America and the United States Energy Association issued statements supporting withdrawing from the accord, as did the Energy & Environment Legal Institute. E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow Steve Milloy's said E&E Legal “applauds President Trump’s decision to abandon the disastrous Paris treaty that would have destroyed American jobs and led to skyrocketing energy prices putting those most vulnerable at risk. Europe is the model for these failed ‘climate policies,’ and President Trump is correct in not allowing the United States to go down the same path.  We look forward to working with the President as he implements his America first energy policies, and we will do whatever we can to combat the unprecedented hysteria spewing from global elitists bent on destroying our great nation.”

Rick Perry, U.S. secretary of Energy said the U.S. will no longer be bound by an agreement unilaterally entered into by the Obama Administration. “This was neither submitted to nor ratified by the U.S. Senate, and is not in the best long-term economic interest of the United States,” he said. “President Trump’s decision will prove to be the right course of action and one I fully support. Instead of preaching about clean energy, this administration will act on it. Our work and deeds are more important than empty words. I know you can drive economic growth and protect the environment at the same time, because that is exactly what I did as governor of Texas.”

The U.S. will continue to be actively engaged in the development of global energy and the world leader in the development of next generation technology, Perry said, adding that he’s traveling to Japan and China to discuss the benefits of all forms of energy, including nuclear, fossil, liquid natural gas and renewables, as well as the technological advances such as carbon capture.


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