Trump Pulls US Out Despite Far-Reaching Support

Screenshot from the White House YouTube channel's video of President Donald Trump's announcement on his decision to leave the Paris Agreement on June 1, 2017.

Screenshot from the White House YouTube channel's video of President Donald Trump's announcement on his decision to leave the Paris Agreement on June 1, 2017.

President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris climate change agreement.

The process of withdrawal will take several years, but once the process is complete, the U.S. will join Nicaragua and Syria as only the third country in the world that is not part of the deal. Nicaragua is not part of the deal because the country does not believe the program does enough to combat climate change. This makes Syria, a country in the depths of a brutal civil war, the only other country in the world besides the United States that is not part of the Paris Agreement.

The Paris climate change agreement is a global effort that included 196 countries coming together in an effort to avoid raising the global temperature by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. President Trump, who has stated multiple times that he believes climate change is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese, stated that the agreement was a “bad deal” for America.

When former President Barack Obama agreed to the deal in 2015, which is not legally binding, he said the United States would reduce its emissions from 2005 by 27 percent by 2025. Other countries that are still developing their industrialized institutions have promised to level off their carbon emissions after several more years. Trump used this information to claim that the plan does not fit with his “America first” policy and allows other countries to take advantage of America.

“The agreement is a mass distribution of American wealth to other countries,” Trump said. “The reality is that withdrawing is in America’s economic interest and won’t matter much to the climate.”

Trump made the decision to withdraw despite the fact nearly 70 percent of Americans support the idea of the agreement, including a majority in every state. Microsoft, Google, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s former company Exxon Mobile also support the deal, as does Tillerson himself.

“[Trump] pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord and sending these executive orders that’ll expedite Keystone XL Pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline, all that together, it just saddens me,” said Rene Jiminez, President of EAGLE at Mt. SAC. “I don’t know what direction we’re heading in now. I feel like we as environmentalists … need to start standing up and do more as a people.”

Obama also released a statement where he expressed his dismay with Trump’s decision. While Obama did not name Trump explicitly, he expressed a sentiment of disappointment regarding the lack of American leadership in the fight against climate change. However, Obama remained hopeful in his statement that American businesses would continue to takes steps toward greater energy efficiency.

“I believe the United States of America should be at the front of the pack. But even in the absence of American leadership; even as this Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got,” the statement concluded.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, announced on Twitter that he would be leaving the two presidential advisory councils he was a part of because of Trump’s decision.

“Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” Musk said in a series of tweets. “… I’ve done all I can to advise directly to [Trump] … that we remain.”

Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, reiterated Trump’s statements about how the deal was bad for the U.S. economy, and continued to blame the policy China has adopted as the reason the deal was unfair.

Nothing in the Paris Agreement is legally binding, and there is nothing holding the president to a commitment of Obama’s ideas under the plan. Nevertheless, President Trump found it necessary to remove the United States from the agreement, and disregard the wishes of the majority of Americans in every state of the nation, the majority of scientists, and many leading American companies.