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U.S. will withdraw from Paris Agreement: Trump
Last Updated: 2017-06-02 01:21 | Xinhua
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U.S.-WASHINGTON D.C.-PARIS AGREEMENT-WITHDRAWAL

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he delivers a speech at the White House in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, on June 1, 2017. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he has decided to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, a landmark global pact to fight climate change. (Xinhua/Mike Theiler)

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he has decided to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, a landmark global pact to fight climate change.

The U.S. will cease honoring non-binding parts of the deal "as of today," Trump said at a press conference in the White House Rose Garden, adding that his administration will also cease implementation of the "draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country."

Calling the Paris Agreement "hamstrings" the United States while "empowers" other countries, Trump said the United States would begin negotiations to re-enter the agreement.

However, Trump indicated that re-entry may not be a top priority for his administration.

"If we can, great. If we can't, that's fine," said Trump, adding that the new agreement must ensure "fair" treatment to the United States, its business, its workers, and its taxpayers.

Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement fulfilled a campaign promise, but was expected to meet widespread opposition both at home and abroad.

Governor of California Jerry Brown vowed to resist withdrawal from the Paris accord.

"California will resist this misguided and insane course of action," said Brown in a statement released before Trump finished his speech.

Trump, who once called climate change a "hoax," had taken a series of actions aimed at reversing his predecessor Barack Obama's climate policies.

"There was always some doubt as to whether the U.S. could meet its target for emissions reduction established by the Paris Agreement," Michael Swaine, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Xinhua via email.

However, the formal withdrawal from the document would send an unambiguous message to the world that Washington abrogates its leading role in tackling such problems, Swaine said.

Minutes after Trump revealed his decision, Obama said in a statement that the Trump administration joins "a small handful of nations that reject the future."

The Paris Agreement of climate change, agreed on by almost every country in the world in 2015 after lengthy negotiations, aims to tackle climate change by cutting greenhouse gas emissions and sets a global target of keeping the rise in the average temperature no higher than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

A letter signed by 25 major U.S. firms runs as a full-page ad in Washington, D.C. newspapers on Thursday, part of a last-ditch effort to convince Trump that sticking with the agreement would be better for the economy.

"By expanding markets for innovative clean technologies, the agreement generates jobs and economic growth," the letter says. "U.S. companies are well positioned to lead in these markets."

Apple, Google, Facebook, Gap, Microsoft, and Unilever have all signed the letter.

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