As expected, President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that the United States will exit the landmark Paris climate agreement, arguing it undermined the nation's economic growth, and worldwide competitiveness.
Scientists say Earth is likely to reach more unsafe levels of warming sooner as a result of the president's decision because America contributes so much to rising temperatures.
"We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement can not be renegotiated, since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies", they said. "They can do whatever they want in 13 years, [but] not us".
Elon Musk has followed through on his threat to leave Donald Trump's White House advisory council after the president reneged on the Paris accord. That includes carbon dioxide generated from burning fossil fuels blamed for a warming planet, rising sea levels, droughts and more frequent violent storms.
Under the pact, the U.S. committed to reducing its emissions by 26 to 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2025.
Former US President Barack Obama was instrumental in brokering the Paris agreement.
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The Paris agreement is a "massive redistribution of United States wealth to other countries", Trump told an audience of administration officials and supporters gathered in the White House Rose Garden. "Even Mitt Romney knows this is a failure of leadership".
Obama said that businesses have chosen "a low-carbon future" and are already investing heavily in renewable sources like wind and solar.
Eventually, the page does a whole 360 which lands back to Trump's announcement on the deal. Trump didn't indicate that he wanted to abandon the overall treaty. That was a reference to groups like the so-called Strategic and Policy Forum, where Musk and other business leaders have been advising Trump since January. The baseline level this reduction is measured against is 2005, when the U.S. emitted 6,132 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. "At what point do they start laughing at us as a country?" Some of Trump's advisers have even been pushing him toward keeping the U.S.in the agreement, although that may have just been a way to protect USA fossil-fuel interests. "We will not ignore the science and reality of climate change, which is why I am also signing an Executive Order confirming New York's leadership role in protecting our citizens, our environment, and our planet".
The U.S. under the Obama administration played a leading role in making the deal come together and convincing China and other developing countries that they needed to join the fight against global warming.