Donald Trump pulls US out of Paris climate agreement

US President faces worldwide criticism for decision to withdraw from historic global climate change deal

(Image credit: This content is subject to copyright.)

Donald Trump has confirmed that the US will withdraw from the Paris climate pact, citing the "draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country".

The decision to join Syria and Nicaragua, the only two nations that have not signed the agreement, "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", says the New York Times.

In a speech on the White House lawn, Trump said the agreement involved "a massive redistribution of US wealth to other countries".

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

After withdrawal, he said, he would "begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States".

"The deal was negotiated badly, and extracts meaningless commitments from the world's top polluters," the White House said in a statement.

The leaders of France, Germany and Italy immediately released a joint statement saying they would not renegotiate the agreement.

"We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible," it said. "We firmly believe that the Paris agreement cannot be renegotiated, since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies."

Theresa May "expressed her disappointment with the decision and stressed that the UK remained committed to the Paris Agreement" during a phone call with Trump, the BBC says.

But she has come under fire for not adding her name to the joint statement released by others in Europe.

See more

Trump's decision was widely condemned by world leaders, senior political figures and a number of high-profile business people, as protesters gathered in New York.

Former president Barack Obama condemned his successor's decision, saying the US had joined "a small handful of nations that reject the future".

Former vice-president Al Gore said the move was "reckless and indefensible", while Hillary Clinton called it a "historic mistake". Former secretary of state John Kerry, who was involved in negotiating the agreement, said Trump has succumbed to a "gross abdication of leadership".

In the business world, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk and Disney chief executive Robert Iger said they would resign from Trump's President's Council in protest at the decision.

See more

Meanwhile on social media a New York Times ad from 2009 is doing the rounds. The letter appeals to then president Barack Obama to act on climate change and happens to be signed by the Trump family.

See more

But "not all environmentalists think Trump's withdrawal from Paris is so bad for the world", says The Guardian. "Paris may forfeit legitimacy due to the loss of a major emitter, but it is equally likely that its legitimacy would have been grievously injured by the US blatantly violating the spirit and purpose of the agreement."

Infographic provided by for The Week.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.