US president Donald Trump announced on Thursday that the country will withdraw from the Paris climate change agreement, which commits signatory nations to work towards holding the predicted increase in temperatures caused by global warming below 2 degrees C.
Calling the agreement “a bad deal” for US workers, Trump said it disadvantaged the US in favour of other nations and had imposed “draconian financial and economic burdens” on the economy.
However, he said the US would immediately work to rejoin the agreement under terms more favourable to it, or to negotiate “an even better deal” that would be “fair” to the country.
Specifically, he said the US would abandon the implementation of its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and stop contributing to the Green Climate Fund, which was set up to help developing nations meet their climate pledges.
Trump said the climate fund “is costing the US a vast fortune”. President Obama had sent two instalments of $500m toward the US pledge of $3bn, the largest national contribution.
Analysts say the US withdrawal will make it more difficult for developing countries to meet their pledges.
Within the US, business newspaper the Wall Street Journal noted that many corporate leaders believe Trump’s decision will have little immediate impact on the prevailing trend toward lowering emissions, as growing demand from shareholders and state regulations have already pushed companies to go green.
Around 15 per cent of global carbon emissions are generated by the US, which now joins Syria and Nicaragua as the only nations that are not part of the agreement.
In response to the US exit, China and the EU are set to issue a joint statement on climate change on Friday. They are expected to say that they will redouble their efforts, calling climate change both a national security issue and a threat to social and political stability, and noting that the global transition to renewables creates jobs and economic growth.