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Trump pulls US out of global climate change accord

US President Donald Trump said the United States would abandon the Paris climate deal -- but was open to negotiating a new one
Brendan Smialowski (AFP)
White House has told allies the 2015 deal was signed by President Barack Obama out of "desperation"

President Donald Trump on Thursday announced America's withdrawal from the Paris climate deal, signaling a policy shift with wide-ranging repercussions for the climate and Washington's ties with the world.

In a highly anticipated statement from the White House Rose Garden, Trump said the United States would abandon the current deal -- but was open to negotiating a new one.

"As of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country," Trump said.

"We're getting out but we'll start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that's fair. And if we can, that's great. And if we can't, that's fine."

SAUL LOEB (AFP)

Trump complained that the deal, which was signed under his predecessor President Barack Obama, gives other countries an unfair advantage over US industry and destroys American jobs.

"I cannot, in good conscience, support a deal that punishes the United States -- the world's leader in environmental protection -- while imposing no meaningful obligations on the world's leading polluters," Trump said, before singling out China and India.

"This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States," he claimed.

Obama lashed out immediately, saying Trump's "administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future."

By withdrawing from the agreement, the White House said, Trump is committing to uphold "his campaign promise to put American workers first."

Trump faced last-minute pressure from business tycoons, foreign allies and from inside his own White House not to pull out of the 196-party accord.

PATRIK STOLLARZ (AFP/File)

His decision could seriously hamper efforts to cut emissions and limit global temperature increases. The United States is the world's second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China.

China earlier on Thursday pledged to stay the course on implementing the 2015 agreement.

But Trump, who once called climate change a "hoax" perpetrated by China, has long promised to pull US participation from the Accord, which commits signatories to efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

The agreement vows steps to keep the worldwide rise in temperatures "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial times and to "pursue efforts" to hold the increase under 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Opponents of withdrawal -- said to include Trump's own daughter Ivanka -- have warned that America's reputation and its leadership role on the world stage are also at stake, as is the environment.

Nicaragua and Syria are the only countries not party to the Paris accord, the former seeing it as not ambitious enough and the latter being racked by a brutal civil war.

(Staff with agencies)

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