U.S. withdraws from Paris climate agreement

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KUSI) — President Donald Trump announced Thursday he will withdraw the United States from the Paris climate change accord.

Taking the podium in the Rose Garden of the White House, President Trump told reporters his decision to immediately end all implementation of the Paris climate accord agreement was necessary to "follow through on our commitments and I don’t want anything to get in our way. I am fighting everyday for the great people of this country."

Nearly 200 countries are part of the agreement created in 2015 in an effort to reduce the effects of global warming.

President Trump was vocal on his disapproval of the deal during the 2016 campaign race. He has repeatedly called the deal unfair for Americans. Trump said he had listened to arguments on both sides of the argument leading up to his decision to withdraw.

Several countries urged President Trump to keep America signed on to the agreement, including a last ditch effort Thursday from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. In a letter sent to the President, the countries said its crucial that all nations stay together.

By withdrawing, the United States joins Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries not to participate in the agreement, although it takes four full years to officially withdraw and a new president could reverse the decision before then.

President Trump said he is open to renegotiating the United States involvement in the deal or open negotiations of a new deal that would be fair to the United States.

President Trump’s decision to pull the United States from the Paris climate agreement fulfilled on of his primary campaign promises. He told reporters the withdrawal fulfilled his “solemn duty to protect the American people and its citizens.”

The Paris Agreement was signed by 195 countries in 2015 and set a goal of curbing greenhouse gas emissions, along with keeping a global rise in temperature this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. It also calls for an effort to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Under the agreement, every country submitted a plan to lower greenhouse emissions and agreed to meet regularly and share progress. The agreement is
nonbinding and countries are allowed to adjust their plans depending on their domestic situation, with peer pressure from other countries being the primary motivating factor.

Local leaders in California were generally against the move by Trump and weighed in Thursday.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer was one of dozens of city leaders nationwide denouncing President Donald Trump’s move today to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement.

“Today’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement underscores how important it is for major U.S. cities to lead the way and take definitive action to leave a better planet than the one we inherited,” Faulconer said.

“San Diego remains as committed as ever to implementing our landmark Climate Action Plan and being a national leader in solar, renewable energy use,
water purification and green job creation,” he said. “We cannot protect America’s interests without a seat at the table, so San Diego will continue to lead on environmental protection.”

Faulconer has been notable as a high-profile Republican elected official who has taken steps to address climate change.

On the state level, Gov. Jerry Brown announced the creation of a U.S. Climate Alliance that will include states committed to upholding the guidelines of the Paris agreement. He said California, New York and Washington are the initial members, with those states representing more than one-fifth of U.S. Gross Domestic Product.

“If the president is going to be AWOL in this profoundly important human endeavor, then California and other states will step up,” Brown said.

Categories: Local San Diego News