US out of Paris climate agreement - Smart Energy Decisions

Regulation, Regulation  -  June 1, 2017 - By Amy Poszywak

Trump says US will exit Paris climate agreement

President Donald Trump on June 1 officially announced his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, but begin negotiations to re-enter on terms that are "more fair to the United States" and its workers. 

Speaking from the Rose Garden of the White House, Trump said the U.S. would remove itself from the agreement, but immediately begin negotiations to re-enter the deal "on terms that are more fair to the United States ... and its workers." In explaining his decision, Trump said the agreement was "less about the climate, and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States."  

Trump said backing out of the agreement would help American families and jobs, and free the country of the "draconian financial and economic burdens" he believes the pact creates for the U.S., including the financial commitment to the U.N. Green Climate Fund, intended to help poor countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. 

The announcement followed months of speculation over whether or not the president would hold true to his previous promise to "cancel" the agreement. A day earlier, amid reports of the President's decision, some of the largest corporations including Apple Inc., Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical Co. and Tesla Inc. revved up their opposition to such a decision. 

Following Trump's June 1 announcement, General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt tweeted: "Disappointed with today's decision on the Paris Agreement. Climate change is real. Industry must now lead and not depend on government." And Telsa CEO Elon Musk, who had advised Trump via his role on the President's business council to stay in the agreement, said he would vacate that role. 

"Am departing presidential councils," Musk tweeted. "Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world."

The Paris climate agreement, reached by 195 countries within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in late 2015, was the first global agreement seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. and China formally signed on to the climate change agreement in September 2016, a move considered to be a landmark of former President Barack Obama's environmental legacy.

Stay tuned to Smart Energy Decisions for ongoing coverage of this decision and the responses from U.S. companies. 

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