President Donald Trump said Thursday that he would withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, "vowing to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens."
"We're getting out, but we'll start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that's fair," Trump said in an announcement in the White House Rose Garden. "If we can, that's great. And if we can't, that's fine.
"This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States," Trump said of the accord, signed last year by President Barack Obama and 195 other nations. "The agreement is a massive redistribution of United States' wealth to other countries."
During the presidential campaign, Trump vowed to withdraw from the Paris agreement, arguing that it would mean stricter environmental policies that would hamper economic growth and cost U.S. jobs.
In 2012, Trump expressed doubts about climate change, saying on Twitter that "the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."
Under the Paris accord, nations agreed voluntarily cut greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to fight climate change and curb "greenhouse" gases.
These include carbon dioxide generated from burning of fossil fuels that scientists blame for a warming planet, sea level rise, droughts and more frequent violent storms.
The U.S. and China represent almost 40 percent of global emissions.
The accord – ratified by 175 parties, including Beijing and the European Union – became one of President Obama's signature achievements.
The United States joins Syria and Nicaragua in not participating in the climate accord.
President Trump said that the United States would stop implementing all nonbinding parts of the Paris agreement "as of today" – as well as "the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country."
These include a $3 billion commitment to the Green Climate Fund.
In slamming the agreement, Trump rattled off a bevy of financial realities that he said would be caused by the Paris agreement – including the loss of as many as 2.3 million jobs by 2025, including 440,000 in manufacturing, because of various energy restrictions.
He said that the accord's restrictions would also cut production in these manufacturing sectors: paper, cement, iron and steel, coal, and natural gas.
The agreement would cost America $3 trillion in lost GPD and 6.5 million in industrial jobs, "while households would have $7,000 less income and, in many cases, much worse than that," Trump said.
"Not only does this deal subject our citizens to harsh economic restrictions, it fails to live up to our environmental ideals,” he added. "I cannot, in good conscience, support a deal that punishes the United States, which is what it does."
President Trump noted that the Paris agreement placed harsher restrictions on the United States over such nations as China and India, which would be allowed to build coal plants in their countries.
"The bottom line is that the Paris accord is very unfair, at the highest level, to the United States," Trump said.
He also noted other economic realities: "America is $20 trillion in debt. Cash-strapped cities cannot hire enough police officers or fix vital infrastructure.
"Millions of our citizens are out of work.
"And, yet, under the Paris accord, billions of dollars that ought to be invested right here in America will be sent to the very countries that have taken our factories and our jobs away from us.
"Our withdrawal from the agreement represents a reassertion of America's sovereignty.
"The Paris according would undermine our economy, hamstring our workers, weaken our sovereignty, impose unacceptable legal risk, and put us as a permanent disadvantage to the other countries of the world," President Trump concluded. "It is time to exit the Paris accord."
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt praised Trump's decision, lauding the president as "a leader answering only to the people, not to the special interests who had their way for way for too long.
"In everything you do, Mr. President, you're fighting for the forgotten men and women across this country.
"You are a champion for the hard-working citizens across this land who just want a government that listens to them and represents their interests."
Vice President Mike Pence introduced Trump, saying that "the American people and the wider world will see once again that our president is choosing to put American jobs and American consumers first.
"Our president is choosing to put American energy and American industry first."
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