In a statement today from the White House, President Donald Trump fulfilled his campaign promise to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement.
“We’re getting out, but we’ll start to negotiate, and we’ll see if we can make a deal that’s fair,” he said.
The Paris Agreement, approved in December 2015, committed nearly 200 countries to work to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“As president, I can put no other consideration before the well-being of American citizens. The Paris climate accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers, who I love, and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories and vastly diminished economic production,” Trump said, according to a video of the speech on whitehouse.gov. “Thus, as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country. 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.”
Trump said that compliance with the terms of the agreement and the energy restrictions that it places on the U.S. would cost America as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025, according to the National Economic Research Associates.
Following the announcement, Elon Musk tweeted that he will “depart presidential councils.”
Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2017
Timothy McMahan, chair of law firm Stoel Rives’ Climate Change Practice Initiative, noted in an e-mailed statement that it is unclear exactly how a withdrawal from the Paris Agreement would affect emissions from the electric generation sector.
“The federal government’s decision may embolden states as well as local governments to continue enacting clean energy policies and incentivizing clean energy technology investments,” he said. “Stateside developments, as well as actions by international investment funds and other corporate entities will proceed notwithstanding either a withdrawal from the Paris Agreement or a potential end to the Clean Power Plan.
He added that a withdrawal from the Paris Agreement may incentivize investments in clean technologies and stimulate significant new economic ties between the states and other nations.
“[U]nder Article 28 of the Paris Agreement, it appears the earliest effective date of a withdrawal would be November 2020,” he said. “There may be alternative, and potentially more drastic, options at the current administration’s disposal to remove the United States from the Accord.”
In response to Trump’s announcement, WWF’s global climate and energy practice leader Manuel Pulgar-Vidal said in a statement: “The Paris Agreement is the world’s collective response to tackling climate change. But the transformative power of the Paris Agreement lies in the targets that it triggers, and nations must hold each other accountable for their promises.
“A race to the bottom when it comes to our efforts to cut carbon pollution benefits no one as climate change affects everyone.
“Cities, states, companies and the public in the U.S. and around the world support climate action, and are already contributing to creating low-carbon economies from the bottom up.
“Fortunately, the Paris Agreement is bigger than any one nation or any one government. We can still achieve the promise of Paris, but we have no time to lose. Countries around the world must seize the opportunity to unleash this potential, invest in renewable energy that eliminates harmful carbon pollution, and build economies that are more resilient, inclusive and prosperous.”
Lead image credit: whitehouse.gov