When President Trump shut the door on the Paris climate agreement on Thursday afternoon, he actually left it open a crack, perhaps in a nod to close members of his administration who had argued against pulling the U.S. out. "We are getting out," Trump said in the White House Rose Garden. "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." It was immediately clear that there would be no renegotiating the Paris Agreement.
More than 190 nations — everyone but Syria and Nicaragua — agreed to the Paris plan, and "you cannot renegotiate individually," said Christina Figueres, the former United Nations official who led the Paris negotiations. "It's a multilateral agreement. No one country can unilaterally change the conditions."
The leaders of Germany, France, and Italy quickly issued a joint statement expressing their "regret" at Trump's decision and that they "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." Britain's prime minister, Theresa May, told Trump in a phone call she was disappointed in his decision. German Chancellor Angela Merkel emerged from meetings with the prime ministers of China and India with joint commitment to the Paris accord and hints of new global alliances.
French President Emmanuel Macron assured Americans, in English, in a video, that "France believes in you, the world believes in you," and urged "all scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, responsible citizens who were disappointed by the decision of the president of the United States" to come work in France. He ended with a little dig at Trump: "Make our planet great again."
U.N. Secretary General António Guterres did not mention treaty renegotiation in his statement, but he said he "remains confident that cities, states, and businesses within the United States — along with other countries — will continue to demonstrate vision and leadership by working for the low-carbon, resilient economic growth that will create quality jobs and markets for 21st century prosperity." So far, 30 U.S. states, several major cities, and scores of big companies have said they are sticking with the Paris goals.