Trump pulls US from climate accord; Utah senators praise move, ‘Climate Mayors’ denounce it

In this file photo, President Donald Trump speaks about the U.S. role in the Paris climate change accord, Thursday, June 1, 2017, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., June 1, 2017 | AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, St. George News

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (AP) — President Donald Trump said Thursday he was withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, striking a major blow to worldwide efforts to combat climate change and distancing the country from many allies abroad. He said the U.S. would try to negotiate re-entry on better terms.

“As of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the nonbinding Paris accord,” Trump said during a White House Rose Garden announcement. Suggesting renegotiating re-entry was not a major priority, he said, “If we can, great. If we can’t, that’s fine.”

By abandoning the world’s chief effort to slow the tide of planetary warming, Trump was fulfilling a top campaign pledge. But he was also breaking from many of America’s staunches allies, who have expressed alarm about the decision.

Under former President Barack Obama, the U.S. had agreed to reduce emissions to 26 percent to 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2025 — about 1.6 billion tons.

But Trump said the agreement disadvantaged the U.S. “to the exclusive benefit of other countries,” leaving American businesses and taxpayers to absorb the cost.

Scientists say Earth is likely to reach more dangerous levels of warming sooner as a result of the president’s decision 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.

The U.S. is the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon, following only China. Beijing, however, has reaffirmed its commitment to meeting its targets under the Paris accord, recently canceling construction of about 100 coal-fired power plants and investing billions in massive wind and solar projects.

White House talking points obtained by The Associated Press said the Paris accord was “a BAD deal for Americans” and that the president’s action would keep “his campaign promise to put American workers first.”

“The Accord,” the document went on to say, “was negotiated poorly by the Obama Administration and signed out of desperation.”

The U.S. is already leading the world in energy production and doesn’t need a bad deal that will harm American workers,” it read.

The White House had signaled earlier in the week that withdrawal was likely, but Trump has been known to change his mind at the last minute on such major decisions.

White House aides were divided on the topic and had been deliberating on “caveats in the language” as late as Wednesday, one official said.

The nation may withdraw, but some major city mayors won’t

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski joined 60 other U.S. city majors in pledging to uphold the Paris climate accord despite Trump’s withdrawing the nation from it.

“Salt Lake City is warming at a rate twice the global average, which is already impacting water supplies, worsening air quality, and threatening our $1 billion ski industry,” Biskupski said in a statement Thursday.

“This unprecedented action by President Trump affects each and every one of us,” she continued. “We must lead where the White House refuses to. Cities are paving the path toward a livable future and I’m proud to count Salt Lake City in that cohort.”

Biskupski is a member of the Climate Mayors, also known as Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, or MNCAA, a network of U.S. mayors representing more than 36 million Americans.

The Climate Mayors issued a statement that reads in part:

“As 61 Mayors representing 36 million Americans, we will adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement. We will intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, and work together to create the 21st clean energy economy.”

Utah senators applaud climate accord withdrawal

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, issued the following statement via Facebook:

The Paris climate deal is a bad deal that costs the United States a lot of money and costs the United States a lot in terms of making a commitment to something that even a Democratic Congress with a newly minted Democratic President Barack Obama in 2009 couldn’t achieve. President Obama could and should have submitted the Paris climate deal to the senate for ratification as a treaty, but he didn’t because he knew the will did not exist to ratify it. Good policy is good politics. If the Paris climate deal was good policy, President Obama wouldn’t have needed to subvert the constitutional process for entering the American people into international agreements.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, also issued a statement:

I continue to be encouraged by the President’s efforts to reduce unnecessary and ineffective regulatory burdens. Withdrawing from this unenforceable agreement – which lacked the support of the American people and never came before the Senate for approval – is a step in the right direction. President Obama’s climate agenda did little to improve the environment while doing much to hurt the economy. Look forward to working with the President to rein in the overregulation of the Obama administration and help America’s businesses compete globally.

Associated Press writers Ken Thomas, Erica Werner, Vivian Salama, Michael Biesecker and Seth Borenstein in Washington contributed to this report. | The Salt Lake City Mayor’s, Climate Mayor’s and Utah senator responses contributed by St. George News senior reporter Mori Kessler

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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18 Comments

  • Brian June 1, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Good! The paris climate agreement was a horrible agreement that would do very little for the planet while exacting a massive and disproportionate toll on America and Americans.

    I’m all for protecting the environment, but I won’t shoot myself in the foot to save a single slug that could be endangered at some unknown time in the future. Which puts me in the same class as Al Gore, who won’t cut back on his favorite steaks, limit his private jet travel, reduce the square footage of his home, or turn off a few lights to save the environment. I’d say “I’m in good company”, but it’s Al Gore, and no one ever says that about him…

  • Sedona June 1, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    So explain the fossilized broad leaf plants discovered in Iceland over a decade ago…..
    Yes the earth goes through temperature cycles. Has for millions of years. Geology proves that.
    It’s just that this cycle is being tied to economics and Libs don’t want this……. (if I can use a Rahm Emanuel quote) “crisis to go to waste”.

    A team of MIT scientists recorded a nearly simultaneous world-wide increase in methane levels….the first increase in ten years. What baffles the team is that this data contradicts theories stating humans are the primary source of increase in greenhouse gas. It takes about one full year for gases generated in the highly industrial northern hemisphere to cycle through and reach the southern hemisphere. Since all worldwide levels rose simultaneously throughout the same year, however, it is probable that this may be part of a natural cycle – and not the direct result of man’s contributions.

  • 42214 June 1, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Keep up the good work Mr President. Undo every backroom deal and executive order Barry made in the last 8 years. The crying from the left and Hollywood elites is priceless.

  • r2d2 June 1, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    Great work Mr. President. I’m tired of bending to other countries while they get away with what ever they want.

  • comments June 2, 2017 at 12:00 am

    I’m on the fence about this global warming stuff, but I all you hard-right wing nuts should live in towns that have a coal-fired power plant dead smack in the middle, and I’m not talking about one of these newfangled ones with all the fancy new emission controls and what have you; I’m talking about one with full-on turn of the century tech from like the year 1900; one that billows out huge clouds of black sooty smoke. And all you wingnuts can suck in the fresh scent of coal exhaust first thing in the morning and start raving about how “them libruls want to ban coal!”. LOL just get a mental image of that scenario, bc I know you wingnuts hate any sort of regulation that try to clean up air and environmental pollution. cheers 😉

    • Brian June 2, 2017 at 8:14 am

      I love how lefties always swing the pendulum to the extreme: If “right wing nuts” don’t want to be in the paris climate agreement it MUST be because they LOVE pollution and HATE the earth. Um, no.

      There is a principle in business and investing called the risk–return spectrum (aka risk vs. reward), the more risky something is (the more it can potentially cost you) the more reward you need to get from it. The paris agreement was entirely risk / price for the US, and almost no reward for the environment. It disproportionately punished and cost the US (both compared to other nations and to the reward for the environment) way beyond the point of making any sense whatsoever.

      I’m NOT a Trump fan, to say the least, but I applaud him for this. If they can come up with an agreement that makes sense and isn’t economic suicide and actually improves the environment and conditions on earth, I’m all for it.

      • Utahguns June 2, 2017 at 10:20 am

        Give it a break commie. Go find a tree to hug, since you think the tree is going to die anyway.

        • comments June 2, 2017 at 11:23 am

          This is one of the hillbilly wingnuts right here.

          Utahgun, do you happen to drive a dodge diesel pickup?

          • Utahguns June 2, 2017 at 12:08 pm

            Yessiree bob there commie….
            I do have a Dodge Diesel pickup…brand new one too… in fact I buy one about every three years….for cash!

            Also, unlike you, I have a life.

            So next time you see a Dodge pickup, that just might be me. If you’ve got the “sand” maybe you would want to stop and “talk”.

          • Sedona June 2, 2017 at 12:20 pm

            Geez comments….
            Are you one of the new internet “alt-racists”?
            Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they’re all hillbilly wingnuts.
            When you go to bed tonite, remember that there are people smarter than you, are more successful than you, drive a better car than you, have a better home than you and more than likely have a more rewarding life than you.

            I thought you libs were so committed to embracing diversity.

          • comments June 2, 2017 at 1:33 pm

            Every 3 years? I knew they were bad, but do they wear out that fast? Maybe faster since FIAT took it over, huh?

          • Sedona June 2, 2017 at 2:29 pm

            Wow comments,
            Looks like Utahguns hit a nerve, heh?

          • Sedona June 2, 2017 at 2:31 pm

            I think you PO’d some truck owners here.

          • comments June 2, 2017 at 7:27 pm

            Utahgun isn’t witty enough to hit any nerves, but I find it a little bit sad that there are folks as clownish as him out there, and with his little temper tantrums and always wanting to start some sort of real life brawl over internet commentary (LOL) I hope he’s even safe on the roads, for everyone’s sake 😉

          • Utahguns June 5, 2017 at 1:04 pm

            Really Commie?
            Being foolishly presumptuous, and marked by immaturity and lack of poise are obviously your major skill sets.
            If I can make a comparison here, you make your comments like someone who drives with a dirty windshield and without their seatbelt on.
            Checkmate.

      • comments June 2, 2017 at 11:10 am

        Yes Brian, but you’re one of the more informed (I’m gonna say centrist rather than right-wing) types. Most wingnuts are ignorant hillbillies who would applaud such things for all the wrong reasons, e.g. “them mean ol’ libruls wanna ban our coal”. 😉

  • Navyvet June 2, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Everyone will be crying once those coal jobs don’t come back. Coal is still cheaper imported from China. Lots of luck with that dead career. Wal-Mart is always hiring!

    • comments June 3, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      From what I’ve heard we are the ones selling coal to china and asia–loading on boats and floating it over there.

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