President Donald Trump has, after months of procrastination and deliberation, carried through with one of his campaign pledges by announcing that he will withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
In a long speech delivered in the Rose Garden at the White House, Trump said the landmark 2015 deal was “very unfair” on the US. He added:
“In order to fulfil my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, but begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris Accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers. So we’re getting out. But we will 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.”
It is not yet clear exactly what process he will deploy to achieve his desired exit from the deal, but Article 28 of the Paris Agreement provides a clause allowing parties to pull out which would take four years to complete. This means it would likely conclude on the eve of the next US presidential election. What he did not say – as many had feared – was that he would pull the US out entirely of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Carbon Brief has produced an interactive grid rounding up the diverse range of reaction from across the world. Scroll down through the grid, or use the filters, to view dozens of reactions, ranging from business leaders and newspaper editorials, through to politicians, scientists and NGOs.
The announcement provoked widespread condemnation from political leaders, business executives and environmentalists around the globe, said the New York Times. It added: “[It] is a remarkable rebuke to heads of state, climate activists, corporate executives and members of the president’s own staff, who all failed to change his mind with an intense, last-minute lobbying blitz.” The Financial Times and Guardian both published an annotated transcript of Trump’s speech, noting the many misleading claims he made and his apparent misunderstanding about how the deal was designed and works.
The Associated Press news agency reported that three Democratic governors had already said they won’t let the US back away from a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “This is an insane move by this president,” said California governor Jerry Brown, slamming the decision as “deviant behavior from the highest office in the land”. Elsewhere, the decision was widely condemned by business leaders.
The Hill reported that Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is going to follow through on his threat to step down from his positions on advisory councils in the White House. The Financial Times rounded up the rest of the business reaction, including the defiant responses from the CEOs of Walt Disney, Goldman Sachs, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Google and PepsiCo. The rare voices of support came largely from those in the coal industry, which Trump has famously promised to boost with “jobs”.
The New York Times published details about the so-called “synthetic pledge” which involves an “unnamed group — which, so far, includes 30 mayors, three governors, more than 80 university presidents and more than 100 businesses — [which] is negotiating with the United Nations to have its submission accepted alongside contributions to the Paris climate deal by other nations”.
Outside the US, condemnation has been near universal. France, Germany and Italy have said they have no intention of renegotiating the Paris climate agreement. “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, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said in a joint statement.
In the UK, BBC News reported that Theresa May, the prime minister, told Trump of her “disappointment” with his decision. In a phone call with him, May said the UK remained committed to the deal, according to a Downing Street statement. But the BBC noted that May has been criticised and accused of “subservience” to Trump for not signing a joint condemnation from France, Germany, and Italy. Downing Street said: “The prime minister expressed her disappointment with the decision and stressed that the UK remained committed to the Paris Agreement, as she set out recently at the G7. She said that the Paris Agreement provides the right global framework for protecting the prosperity and security of future generations, while keeping energy affordable and secure for our citizens and businesses.” The UK’s climate and business ministers also each tweeted their own determination for the UK to support the Paris Agreement.
Tableau data visualisation created by Rosamund Pearce for Carbon Brief.