Trump abandons climate pact

White House talking points: Paris “is a BAD deal for Americans”

By Jill Colvin & Julie Pace 
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Thursday he was withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, striking a major blow to worldwide efforts to combat climate change and distancing the country from many allies abroad. He said the U.S. would try to negotiate re-entry on better terms.

“As of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the nonbinding Paris accord,” Trump said during a White House Rose Garden announcement. Suggesting renegotiating re-entry was not a major priority, he said, “If we can, great. If we can’t, that’s fine.”

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 staunchest 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.

Abandoning the pact was one of Trump’s principal campaign pledges, but America’s allies have expressed alarm about the likely consequences. Top White House aides have been divided. Aides have been deliberating on “caveats in the language,” one official said.

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.

The White House had signaled earlier in the week that withdrawal was likely, but Trump has been known to change his mind at the last minute on such major decisions.

White House aides were divided on the topic and had been deliberating on “caveats in the language” as late as Wednesday, one official said.

In a Berlin speech, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said that fighting climate change is a “global consensus” and an “international responsibility.”

“China in recent years has stayed true to its commitment,” said Li, speaking in Berlin Wednesday.

Trump met Wednesday with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has favored remaining in the agreement. Chief strategist Steve Bannon supports an exit, as does Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Wednesday in Alaska that he had “yet to read what the actual Paris Agreement is,” and would have to read it before weighing in.

This story has been updated.

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