WASHINGTON, D.C.: President Donald Trump announced Thursday (Friday in Manila) that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, prompting a furious global backlash and throwing efforts to slow global warming into doubt.
In a sharply nationalistic address from the White House Rose Garden, Trump announced his administration would immediately stop implementing the “bad” 195-nation accord.
“I cannot, in good conscience, support a deal that punishes the United States,” he said, decrying the “draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.”
Trump repeatedly painted the pact – struck by his predecessor Barack Obama – as a deal that failed to “put America first” and was too lenient on economic rivals China, India and Europe.
“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” he said. “We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore. And they won’t be.”
Trump offered no details about how, or when, a formal withdrawal would happen, and at one point suggested a renegotiation could take place.
“We’re getting out but we’ll start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine,” he said.
That idea was unceremoniously slapped down by furious allies in Europe, who joined figures from around the United States and the world in condemning the move.
“The agreement cannot be renegotiated,” France, Germany and Italy said in a joint statement.
In Manila, Sen. Loren Legarda, head of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said Trump’s decision “reeks of ignorance and condemns US foreign policy into infamy.”
“It is truly a sad day, but we are not hopeless. The way forward is for US cities and states to enforce it,” Legarda added. “The rest of the world will continue to find ways of solving the climate crisis because for vulnerable
countries like the Philippines, this is a matter of survival,” she added.
President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to withdraw from the climate deal in August and November last year because of emissions caps, but eventually signed it last March.
Also in March, the Philippine Senate concurred with Duterte’s ratification of the Paris agreement on climate change, which aims to limit average global temperature rise to “well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”
The United States is the world’s second largest greenhouse gas emitter after China, so Trump’s decision could seriously hamper efforts to cut emissions and limit global temperature increases.
Trump’s domestic critics included Obama, who said the United States was “joining a handful of nations that reject the future.”
Nicaragua and Syria are the only countries not party to the Paris accord, the former seeing it as not ambitious enough and the latter being racked by a brutal civil war.
WITH JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA