Trump: U.S. Will Withdraw from Paris Climate Accord

Trump Rose Garden ReutersJoshua Roberts
Reuters/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump announced from the White House Rose Garden on Thursday afternoon that the United States will withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Accord.

The President had informed reporters on Wednesday that an announcement was coming soon regarding the accord. In response to questions as to whether he was hearing from CEOs attempting to persuade him, Trump replied, “I’m hearing from a lot of people, both ways. Both ways.” Later that night he confirmed in a tweet that he would hold an event at 3:00 p.m. Thursday to make the announcement.

Vice President Pence opened the program stating several campaign promises that President Trump made and has kept thus far. “Thanks to president Trump, America is back,” said Pence. Our President is putting American jobs first, he added, “Putting the forgotten men and women of America first.”

After taking the podium and remarking on the recent terror attack in Manilla, Trump noted America’s “tremendous economic progress since election day.” He added that accomplishmenbigts from his first trip overseas include deals to give Americans a level playing field against other nations. Trump also talked about  contributions in the fight against terror made during the trip and work toward peace in the Middle East.

Trump’s most prevalent message was in line with his “America First” directive — policies that look out for the American economy, American jobs, and America workers.

The President spoke of following through on his commitments to the American people.

“In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord,” Trump declared.

He then added that the Administration will however “begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris Accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers.”

“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,” he added. Trump cited putting the “well being” of Americans first as a motivating factor behind his decision. He said, “This includes ending the implementation of the nationally determined contribution and, very importantly, the Green Climate Fund, which is costing the United States a vast fortune.”

President Trump said that the U.S. will immediately “cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.”

Compliance with the accord could have cost the U.S. “as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025 according to the National Economic Research Associates,” said Trump. “This includes 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs — not what we need…”

Trump further cited the National Economic Research Associates study:

…by 2040, compliance with the commitments put into place by the previous administration would cut production for the following sectors:  paper down 12 percent; cement down 23 percent; iron and steel down 38 percent; coal — and I happen to love the coal miners — down 86 percent; natural gas down 31 percent.  The cost to the economy at this time would be close to $3 trillion in lost GDP and 6.5 million industrial jobs, while households would have $7,000 less income and, in many cases, much worse than that.

He said the deal fails to live up to America’s environmental ideals as well.

Trump then pointed to a portion of the Paris Climate Agreement that he said allows China to increase their emissions for 13 years. He called the U.S. “the world’s leader in environmental protection,” adding that India made it’s participation in the Paris Accord “contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries.”

The Paris Agreement also essentially blocks U.S. development of clean coal, said Trump. He then said he was going to try to make it to the opening of a new mine in two weeks and noted “Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, so many places.”

The mine Trump was referencing appears to be a Somerset County, Pennsylvania mine that Corsa Coal Corporation is opening, according to local CBS21 News.

Trump again pointed to China and India, saying that each country is allowed to add massive numbers of coal plants under the Paris Agreement.

“In short, the agreement doesn’t eliminate coal jobs, it just transfers those jobs out of America and the United States, and ships them to foreign countries,” he said. “This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States.”

He spoke of America’s abundant energy resources and that the agreement would put “these reserves under lock and key, taking away the great wealth of our nation.” He added that it would leave “millions and millions of families trapped in poverty and joblessness.”

“The agreement is a massive redistribution of United States’ wealth to other countries,” said Trump. He stated that at one percent growth, renewable energy could meet domestic demand, but under the three to four percent growth that he anticipates, the U.S. will risk brownouts, blackouts, businesses coming to a halt, the loss of jobs and “a very diminished quality of life.”

The Paris Agreement won’t make a significant impact on the environment, even with full implementation, producing an estimated difference of “two-tenths of one degree” Celsius reduction in global temperatures by 2100, according to Trump. “Fourteen days of carbon emissions from China alone would wipe out the gains from America…would totally wipe out the gains from America’s expected reductions in the year 2030,” he added. He quoted a Wall Street Journal article that said, “The reality is that withdrawing is in America’s economic interest and won’t matter much to the climate.”

“The United States, under the Trump administration, will continue to be the cleanest and most environmentally friendly country on Earth,” declared President Trump. “We’re going to have the cleanest air.  We’re going to have the cleanest water.  We will be environmentally friendly, but we’re not going to put our businesses out of work and we’re not going to lose our jobs.”

He offered to work immediately with Democratic leaders, the “obstructionists,” to negotiate fair terms to re-enter the Paris Agreement or a completely new deal.

Trump committed to ensuring that “America remains the world’s leader on environmental issues,” but added that burdens and responsibilities must be shared equally among the nations of the world.

“No responsible leader can put the workers — and the people — of their country at this debilitating and tremendous disadvantage,” said Trump, adding that the Paris Accord “hamstrings the United States, while empowering some of the world’s top polluting countries.” He said this disadvantage for the U.S. is the reason foreign lobbyists have sought to keep the U.S. in the Paris Agreement.

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Trump said to applause from the audience.

“It includes yet another scheme to redistribute wealth out of the United States through the so-called Green Climate Fund,” Trump said of the Accord. He stated that it “calls for developed countries to send $100 billion to developing countries, all on top of America’s existing and massive foreign aid payments.”

United Nations climate officials said in 2015 that the $100 billion could increase to $450 billion per year after 2020, according to Trump who added, “And nobody even knows where the money is going to.”

“Foreign leaders in Europe, Asia, and across the world should not have more to say with respect to the U.S. economy than our own citizens and their elected representatives,” said Trump, citing “serious legal and constitutional issues” with the Accord.

“Our withdrawal from the agreement represents a reassertion of America’s sovereignty,” he said to applause from the crowd. Referring to the ambitious nature of these types of agreements, he called the Accord a “massive future legal liability.”

He concluded, “It is time to put Youngstown, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — along with many, many other locations within our great country — before Paris, France. It is time to make America great again.”

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was invited to the stage to make a few remarks after Trump. He called the withdrawal another fulfilled Trump campaign promise. He said the U.S. is best in the world at “striking the balance between growing our economy, growing jobs, while also being a good steward of our environment.”

Pruitt said the U.S. owes “no apologies to other nations for our environmental stewardship.” He added, “America had reduced its CO2 footprint to levels from the early 1990s. In fact, between the years 2000 and 2014, the United States reduced its carbon emissions by 18-plus percent.  And this was accomplished not through government mandate, but accomplished through innovation and technology of the American private sector.”

Leaving the Paris Climate agreement was a key part of Trump’s message as he campaigned for the presidency last year.

Former President Barack Obama unofficially entered the United States into the accord, which was adopted in December 2015 as the United Nations Climate Change Conference came to a close.

During Trump’s recent attendance at the G7 summit in Italy, some of the other G7 leaders pressured Trump to ratify the Paris Climate Accord; however, he declined to do so. Last Friday White House economic advisor Gary Cohn characterized the President’s position on climate change as “evolving,” though it was not clear in what way.

In early March AFP reported that the Trump team was divided over whether the U.S. should remain in or exit the climate agreement.

Last week reports began surfacing that Trump would remove the U.S. from the Paris Accord. Meanwhile Trump announced that he would make a final decision on the matter in the coming week.

Spotted in the audience at Trump’s Paris Climate announcement were Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, U.S. National Security Advisor Gen. H.R. McMaster, White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, and Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Also spotted was President and Founder of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Nordquist.

***Updated 7:00 p.m. Eastern***

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana


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