WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, but will begin negotiations to "re-enter either the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction."
Trump says during a White House Rose Garden announcement that the U.S. will exit the landmark climate agreement aimed at reducing carbon emissions to slow climate change.
Trump says the deal "disadvantages" the U.S. and is causing lost jobs and lower wages.
The announcement fulfills one of Trump's top campaign pledges. But it also undermines world efforts to combat global warming.
The U.S. had agreed under former President Barack Obama to reduce emissions to 26 percent to 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2025 — about 1.6 billion tons.
Vice President Mike Pence says President Donald Trump is "choosing to put American jobs and American consumers first" with his announcement that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris accord.
Abandoning the pact will isolate the U.S. from a raft of international allies who spent years negotiating the 2015 agreement to fight global warming and pollution by reducing carbon emissions in nearly 200 nations. While traveling abroad last week, Trump was repeatedly pressed to stay in the deal by European leaders and the Vatican. Withdrawing would leave the United States aligned only with Russia among the world's industrialized economies.
American corporate leaders have also appealed to the businessman-turned-president to stay. They include Apple, Google and Walmart. Even fossil fuel companies such as Exxon Mobil, BP and Shell say the United States should abide by the deal.
In a Berlin speech, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said that fighting climate change is a "global consensus" and an "international responsibility."
"China in recent years has stayed true to its commitment," said Li, speaking in Berlin Wednesday.
Former President Barack Obama says the Trump administration is joining "a small handful of nations that reject the future" by withdrawing from the Paris climate change pact.
Obama is defending the deal that his administration painstakingly negotiated. He says the countries that stay in the Paris deal will "reap the benefits in "jobs and industries created." He says the U.S. should be "at the front of the pack."
The former president says in a statement that Trump's decision reflects "the absence of American leadership." But Obama says he's confident nonetheless that U.S. cities, states and businesses will fill the void by taking the lead on protecting the climate.
Obama says that businesses have chosen "a low-carbon future" and are already investing heavily in renewable sources like wind and solar.
Trump doesn't "comprehensively understand" the terms of the accord, though European leaders tried to explain the process for withdrawing to him "in clear, simple sentences" during summit meetings last week, Jean-Claude Juncker said in Berlin. "It looks like that attempt failed," Juncker said. "This notion, 'I am Trump, I am American, America first and I am getting out,' that is not going to happen."
Some of Trump's aides have been searching for a middle ground — perhaps by renegotiating the terms of the agreement — in an effort to thread the needle between his base of supporters who oppose the deal and those warning that a U.S. exit would deal a blow to the fight against global warming as well as to worldwide U.S. leadership.
That fight has played out within Trump's administration.
Trump met Wednesday with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has favored remaining in the agreement. Chief strategist Steve Bannon supports an exit, as does Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt.
Trump's chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, has discussed the possibility of changing the U.S. carbon reduction targets instead of pulling out of the deal completely. Senior adviser Jared Kushner generally thinks the deal is bad but still would like to see if emissions targets can be changed.
Trump's influential daughter Ivanka Trump's preference is to stay, but she has made it a priority to establish a review process so her father would hear from all sides, said a senior administration official. Like the other officials, that person was not authorized to describe the private discussions by name and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Wednesday in Alaska that he had "yet to read what the actual Paris Agreement is," and would have to read it before weighing in.
Scientists say Earth is likely to reach more dangerous levels of warming sooner if the U.S. retreats from its pledge because America contributes so much to rising temperatures. Calculations suggest withdrawal could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide in the air a year — enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.