Anger as Trump announces US withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord

The German, French and Italian leaders have insisted the deal cannot be renegotiated

Anger as Trump announces US withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord

Picture by: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP/Press Association Images

US President Donald Trump has confirmed he will withdraw the US from the Paris Accord on climate change.

He made the announcement in the White House's Rose Garden, ending months of speculation about his intentions.

President Trump said: "We're getting out, but we will start to negotiate - and we will see if we can make a deal that's fair."

The move was widely criticised by world leaders, with the Italian, German and French leaders jointly saying the deal cannot be renegotiated.

The decision comes despite overwhelming scientific consensus on the human impact on global warming, with President Trump instead citing his commitment to creating American jobs and supporting industry.

He claimed the landmark deal is less about the climate, and more about other countries "gaining an advantage" over the US.

There are almost 200 signatories of the historic pledge to combat climate change, which was agreed in 2015. 

The deal sets non-binding goals for states to achieve significant reductions in emissions.

Trump had faced pressure from international leaders to remain in the accord, and political pressure from many US Republican politicians to drop out of the agreement.

A tweet from House Speaker Paul Ryan suggested the Accord was "simply a raw deal for America".

Senator Bernie Sanders, however, slammed Trump's announcement as an "international disgrace":

Democratic Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said it is a "devastating failure of historic proportions".

In a statement, Senator Schumer said: "Democrats will do everything we can to undo what President Trump has done and prevent further regression; I seriously hope the President reconsiders this awful decision."

A number of US state and city leaders vowed to stick with their commitments, including Boston mayor Marty Walsh.

Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, meanwhile, said he was quitting all presidential councils in response to the move.

Irish response

Irish politicians were quick to criticise President Trump's decision.

Climate Action and Environment Minister Denis Naughten said the news has been met with "concern and extreme disappointment" by the Government.

He said: "This is a major setback for the international community and it is essential that the decision of the United States does not weaken global resolve.

"Upon their withdrawal the US will join Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries outside the Paris Agreement.”

File photo of Minister Denis Naughten. Image: RollingNews.ie

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan said the decision 'damages the credibility' of the US, arguing the move displays Trump's "complete ignorance to science, facts and what is now considered a self-evident truth". 

Labour's climate change spokesperson Sean Sherlock suggested the move could "see around three billion tonnes more carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere every year".

'Europe ready to lead the way'

The leaders of France, Germany and Italy issued a joint statement saying the climate deal cannot be renegotiated.

In a statement quoted by Reuters, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron said: "We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated, since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies."

French President Emmanuel Macron was damning. In a late-night TV address he said US had "turned its back on the world".

"France will not turn its back on Americans," he added, before inviting American scientists to come and work in France.

He ended with: "Make the planet great again."

Meanwhile, EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete stated: "The EU deeply regrets the unilateral decision by the Trump administration to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement.

"Today's announcement has galvanised us rather than weakened us, and this vacuum will be filled by new broad committed leadership. Europe and its strong partners all around the world are ready to lead the way."

Speaking after formally signing the agreement last September - a move which coincided with China's signing of the deal - former US president Barack Obama said: "Someday we may see this as the moment that we finally decided to save our planet.

"Together, the US and China represent about 40 percent of global emissions. So today, we are moving the world significantly closer to the goal that we have set."

Today, Obama said in a statement: "Even in the absence of American leadership; even as this Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I'm confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way."

President Trump's announcement marks the latest in a series of moves by his administration to undo Obama's climate legacy.

President Trump appointed climate change sceptic Scott Pruitt to lead the country's Environmental Protection Agency.

The US is the world's second largest polluter, behind China. Only Syria and Nicaragua are non-participants in the 195-nation accord agreed in Paris in 2015.

But Syria was unable to send an official to sign the accord because of the civil war and Nicaragua chose not to sign because it felt the agreement did not go far enough.

Trump himself previously claimed global warming was a hoax perpetrated by China.