Political, Business Leaders Balk As Trump Turns Back on Paris Climate Agreement


Donald Trump
Still from AP footage.

President Trump is facing a significant backlash from influential politicians and businessmen after withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement.

On Thursday, the President officials announced that the United States would buck the treaty, which aims to reduce carbon emissions and slow the effects of global warming.

Speculation about a possible withdrawal from the agreement had been circulating since the beginning of May. Starting last week, media outlets like The Washington Post were publishing articles and circulating indications that Mr. Trump had settled an opinion on the 2015 accord.

Voices from within industry and international politics had pleaded with the United States to stand by a pledge which had been authorized by the Obama administration.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, along with other European officials, reportedly petitioned Trump at a G7 summit earlier in the month to reconsider his vow to cut climate change from a new American agenda.

Met with a shrug of the shoulders, Merkel declared at a campaign event in Munich that the time had come for Europeans to take control of their own ‘destiny.’

The rhetoric of Trump, rife with references to weapons and underlaid by racism, was too much for the Chancellor. In the same speech, she said Germany – Europe, too – could no longer count on longtime allies in America and the United Kingdom.

Trump’s decision to stop supporting the most monumental global warming agreement of the 21st Century has, without any doubt, solidified the animus other leaders feel for the hard-talking and hotheaded president.

Bidding au revoir to Paris not only angered Merkel and her European cohorts, but it gave pause to Republicans like Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.

On Friday, he promised to join a carbon emissions reduction plan with several Democratic governors, known domestically as the U.S. Climate Alliance.

Others, like Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX, bid adieu to presidential committees and postings.

The Silicon Valley CEO had previously held a position in one of Trump’s industrial advisory committees. Although Musk rarely seemed to see eye-to-eye with the president on politics and policy, he felt a seat on an advisory board would give him an opportunity to effect change and perhaps convince the president to see straight in some situations.

However, Trump’s decision on the Paris accord went too far for the founder of electric car-manufacturer Tesla, who had earlier promised to resign if American participation in the agreement was undermined.

Musk’s criticism joined the voices of other prominent businessmen, including the CEOs of Microsoft, Apple, Morgan Stanley, and Salesforce, who collaborated with the heads of other companies to take out full-page ads in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and New York Post, urging Trump to stay in the Paris Agreement.

President Trump decided to withdraw from the deal after several days of deliberation, during which his daughter Ivanka Trump and Secretary of State – and former Exxon-Mobil CEO – Rex Tillerson voiced their support for the accord.

In the past, the president had been critical of the deal, saying it hurt American business interests and detracted from the sovereignty of the nation. He has also implied that climate change is largely a Chinese-perpetrated hoax aimed at leveling U.S. industry.

“At what point does America get demeaned?” the President asked. “At what point do they start laughing at us as a country?”

“We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore. And they won’t be,” he said, peppering his speech with the same insecurities he’s held dear since the general election.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry didn’t shy away from causing offense in his condemnation of the commander-in-chief’s choice.

“He is an extremist who believes there is no climate change,” said Kerry.

Sources

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