WASHINGTON, June 1, 2017 – President Donald Trump announced that he will keep his campaign promise and withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.
At the same time, he also announced that the United States will begin negotiations to either re-enter the Paris agreement or start a new negotiation under terms that would be a better deal for “our businesses, workers, people and taxpayers.”
“I represent Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Trump emphasized, while describing the Paris Accord as the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States while “empowering some of the top polluting countries” who can continue to mine more coal while shutting coal production down here at home.
Trump said he couldn’t support a deal that “fails to live up to our own environmental ideals” while sending "billions of dollars that ought to be invested right here to countries that have taken our jobs” such as China and India.
"Our withdrawal from the agreement represents a reassertion of American workers' sovereignty," the president said.
On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly promised to withdraw from the nonbinding agreement with almost 200 other nations, but some of his closest advisors – including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – urged him to reconsider.
Others, like EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, advocated strongly for withdrawing from the agreement. After his prepared remarks in the Rose Garden today, Trump called on Pruitt, who reinforced the decision “to put America first” and pointed out gains that the U.S. had already made in reducing its carbon footprint.
Lawmakers and interest groups quickly reacted to the widely anticipated announcement.
“This great leap backward is another bow to anti-science know-nothingism,” said Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt. “Pandering to a handful of billionaires and special interests would impose huge harm upon our generation, upon future generations, and upon our fragile planet."
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said the President’s decision rejects science and U.S. leadership in an effort that requires global attention.
“Today’s decision by the Trump Administration is shameful, and it fails to recognize the very real and immediate threats of climate change to family farmers, ranchers, and our nation’s food security,” said Johnson.
But House Speaker Paul Ryan described the Paris climate agreement as “simply a raw deal” for America and commended the president’s decision.
“Signed by President Obama without Senate ratification, it would have driven up the cost of energy, hitting middle-class and low-income Americans the hardest," Ryan said. "In order to unleash the power of the American economy, our government must encourage production of American energy.”
Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen argued that, even without the Paris Accord, “the US can continue to lead the world on clean energy development and carbon reduction given the right policy environment.
“Biofuels like ethanol make sense both environmentally and economically; our industry will continue to innovate, grow, and fight climate change regardless of whether the U.S. is party to the Paris agreement,” Dinneen said.
Ernie Shea, with the 25x’25 Alliance, called Trump’s decision a “disappointing abdication of this nation’s leadership role in meeting the challenges of the very real changing climatic conditions.”
But he also noted that the world is already “on the path to an inevitable low-carbon, 21st-century economy” and called for policy makers and corporate leaders to assume a larger role in implementing programs and practices needed to fill the void left by the president’s decision.
Cargill Chairman and CEO David MacLennan said Cargill remains fully committed to address climate change in its supply chains around the world.
“It is extremely disappointing. Exiting international accords like the Paris Agreement will negatively impact trade, economic vitality, the state of our environment, and relationships amongst the world community. And it positions the U.S. as an outlier on this important issue,” said MacLennan. “It would have resulted in U.S. economic growth and job creation.
“That said, we have no intention of backing away from our efforts to address climate change in the food and agriculture supply chains around the world and in fact this will inspire us to work even harder. Caring about sustainability of the planet is not only the right thing to do for people and the environment, it is also good business.”
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