Warming 'danger zone' draws near after Trump decision

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02 June, 2017

"Dear President Trump, as some of the largest companies based or operationg in the United States, we strongly urge you to keep the United States in the Paris Agreement on climate change", the letter read.

"We don't want other countries laughing at us anymore and they won't", Trump declared.

Far from showing leadership to his country and to the world on the issues of climate change and wider environmental responsibilities, Trump had abdicated in both areas, Freeman insisted.

"Today's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement underscores how important it is for major USA cities to lead the way and take definite action to leave a better planet than the one we inherited", Faulconer said. It demonstrates the U.S.is willing to back away from a coalition it assembled just 18 months ago.

It was described by former U.S. President Barack Obama as "a turning point for our planet". But until we do that, America remains out of the agreement.

"Thus, as of today, the United States would cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country".

Agreed to at the 21st Conference of Parties, or COP21, in 2015, the Paris Agreement had just one major aim - to keep average global warming due to climate change to within the risky 2 degree Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) threshold. This is about an ambitious and unshakable desire to leave a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet for our kids and for generations to come.

Many environmentalists, like DiCaprio, who executive produced and appeared in the climate change documentary Before the Flood, fear Trump's move is a big step backward. The U.S., Syria, and Nicaragua are now the only countries not signed on to the accord.

Without mentioning the USA specifically, he said China has been "actively promoting the Paris agreement and we were one of the first countries to ratify the Paris agreement".

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.

"As President, I can put no other consideration before the wellbeing of the American citizens". We will continue to work with our domestic and global partners to drive progress on one of the greatest challenges we face as a world.

What is the Paris Agreement, anyway?

And supporters of the agreement in the USA, which was painstakingly negotiated under the Obama administration, argued that even if that was possible, the damage to America's reputation had already been done.

The three leaders tried to convince Trump last week at a Group of Seven summit to stay in the pact and honor US commitments undertaken by the previous administration.

President Trump has talked often about reopening coal mines. This is unlikely to happen without significant subsidies - coal is in general no longer competitive as an electricity source with natural gas or, increasingly, solar or wind energy.

"Avoiding a two-degree warming was already hard when all of the key countries were rowing together", said Michael Oppenheimer, a climate researcher at Princeton University.

While not mentioning the U.S.by name, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying tells reporters climate change is a "global challenge" that no country can ignore. He was also an adviser on the president's manufacturing jobs initiative.


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