Trump: U.S. will withdraw from Paris climate accord, try to renegotiate

President Donald Trump waits for the arrival of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he is withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate change accord negotiated by the previous administration.

Trump added that he intends to begin negotiations to reenter the agreement or forge a new one under different terms.

“We will see if we can make a deal that’s fair,” he said.

Afterward, France, Germany, and Italy issued a joint statement saying the deal cannot be renegotiated.

Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, Trump claimed the agreement, backed by close to 200 countries, imposes "draconian financial and economic burdens” on the U.S.

“As president, I can put no other consideration before the wellbeing of American citizens,” he said.

Former President Barack Obama issued a statement following Trump's announcement accusing him of joining "a small handful of nations that reject the future."

Obama said Trump's decision reflects "the absence of American leadership."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she regretted Trump's decision but will keep working to "save our Earth."

By abandoning the world's chief effort to slow the tide of planetary warming, Trump was fulfilling a top campaign pledge. But he was also breaking from many of America's staunches allies, who have expressed alarm about the decision.

Under former President Barack Obama, the U.S. had agreed to reduce emissions to 26 percent to 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2025 — about 1.6 billion tons.

But Trump said the agreement disadvantaged the U.S. "to the exclusive benefit of other countries," leaving American businesses and taxpayers to absorb the cost.

Scientists say Earth is likely to reach more dangerous levels of warming sooner as a result of the president's decision because America contributes so much to rising temperatures. Calculations suggest withdrawal could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide in the air a year — enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.

The U.S. is the world's second-largest emitter of carbon, following only China. Beijing, however, has reaffirmed its commitment to meeting its targets under the Paris accord, recently canceling construction of about 100 coal-fired power plants and investing billions in massive wind and solar projects.

White House talking points obtained by The Associated Press said the Paris accord was "a BAD deal for Americans" and that the president's action would keep "his campaign promise to put American workers first."

"The Accord," the document went on to say, "was negotiated poorly by the Obama Administration and signed out of desperation."

"The U.S. is already leading the world in energy production and doesn't need a bad deal that will harm American workers," it read.

Trump alleged that the agreement was not about climate change but instead about other nations gaining financial advantages over the U.S.

"I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris," he said.

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