Trump Nixing U.S. Acceptance of Paris Climate Change Agreement

Printed from:

By Michael P. Norton


BOSTON — The United States will withdraw from the international agreement aimed at reducing carbon emissions to combat the effects of global warming and climate change, President Donald Trump announced on Thursday.

The agreement, reached late in President Barack Obama’s second term during talks in Paris, “disadvantages the United States, to the exclusive benefit of other countries,” said Trump during a Rose Garden press conference at the White House.

The president said he would begin negotiations to re-enter the Paris accord or an “entirely new transaction” with terms that he said would be more fair to the United States, its businesses, and its workers.

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Trump said.

Supporters of the climate accord say it’s essential to efforts to curb pollution and prevent or diminish severe weather events and rising sea levels. They say Massachusetts could be a leader in exporting clean energy technologies.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, issued a statement calling the move “disappointing” and saying Massachusetts remains committed to working with other states and countries to reduce carbon emissions.”

“Despite today’s announcement, Massachusetts is aggressively working to exceed the goals of the Paris Agreement on the state level, while growing our economy through clean energy innovation and environmental stewardship,” Baker said. “In Massachusetts and around the world, climate change is a shared reality and our ability to rise and respond to this challenge will shape future generations.”

Massachusetts has long been part of a multi-state compact to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, and the state is working towards reducing emissions and meeting the requirements of its own Global Warming Solutions Act.

Trump said the Paris agreement will reduce American manufacturing jobs and harm economic output, leaves the United States subject to “harsh economic restrictions,” and includes terms applying to India and China he views as unfair to the United States. Questioning the lack of Congressional input before President Obama entered the United States into the compact, Trump’s team also said U.S. carbon emissions have declined significantly and would continue to decline “as a share of worldwide emissions.”

Trump said the United States needs “all forms of available American energy” to meet demand and avoid brownouts.

The president’s decision is deeply unpopular among many elected officials in Massachusetts.

U.S. Senator Edward Markey, a Democrat, said the withdrawal represents “a betrayal of scientific fact, economic opportunity, and moral leadership.”

“Turning our back on this agreement will be a disaster for America — for our businesses, for our health, and for our national security,” Markey said. “Unless we reduce dangerous carbon pollution, the public’s health will suffer from more asthma attacks and respiratory illness. We will have to pay the price for rising seas and more natural disasters. Drought and famines can all lead to unrest and mass migration, making the world more dangerous and jeopardizing our national security.”

Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg, a Democrat, accused Trump of putting politics and ideology above science.

“This is an ill-conceived decision which sets us apart from virtually every other nation in the world,” Rosenberg said in a statement. “I hope we will not next hear from the Trump Administration that the world is flat.”

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a Democrat, said Wednesday that the president’s decision would damage the country’s reputation as an international leader.

“When we talk about heatwaves and major storms, we’re talking about people losing their lives here in Boston, and we cannot let it happen. No matter what the president decides, I want to make it absolutely clear to the White House and our partners worldwide that the city of Boston will not back down,” Walsh said. “We’re going to continue to invest in clean energy and create jobs. We’re going to continue to make sure our air and water is cleaner for our residents.”

Walsh added:  “If this administration turns its back on the environment, cities like Boston will have to step up.”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Massie, who founded the Investor Network on Climate Risk, said Trump “is actually propelling us toward global suicide” with his decision.

“At a moment when we should be doing everything to slow devastating crop damage, rising sea levels, and brutal impacts on poor communities, he is trying to force our economy backwards and put our physical existence at risk,” Massie said in a statement.


[Stephanie Murray and Katie Lannan contributed reporting.]