Europe and China Will 'Forge Ahead' on Climate Action Without the US

President Donald Trump on Thursday at the White House announced his decision that the USA would withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

By withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, President Trump has not only created a damaging legacy that will impact the most vulnerable communities around the world, he's hurting Americans, including those who voted him into office.

Yet the world's most populous country remains heavily reliant on coal to generate electricity and power its steel mills - a habit that could be hard to break without stifling its economic aspirations.

In announcing his decision, Trump said he was "elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris".

"A decision to walk away from the accord would be a momentous setback, in practical and political terms, for the effort to address climate change". Here's what you need to know.

"The US had taken paltry emission reduction targets under Paris Agreement to begin with and is still far from fulfilling its obligations against global climate funding".

- Jeff Immelt the CEO of General Electric tweeted to say that businesses must not depend on the government and "must now lead". Now the USA stands with only Syria and Nicaragua as countries on the sidelines.

Swiss outlet Le Temps said "Donald Trump, the grave-digger of America's credibility".

In December, DiCaprio met Trump in a last-ditch effort to enlighten the president on climate change-one of the environmental causes for which the Oscar-winning actor and activist has worked tirelessly.

The Paris accord aims to prevent average temperature around the world from heating up by more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) before the end of the century, compared to before the start of the industrial age.

Will it prove a popular move in the US?

"President Trump's decision to withdraw is hence troubling, and implies financial and economic loss for the worldwide community, as well as the US".

What's all this talk about renegotiating?

Electric utilities have been replacing coal plants with gas-fired facilities because they are more efficient and less expensive to operate. He didn't explain what he meant by that or what terms he would be willing to accept.

The agreement requires even a country announcing its exit to stay in the negotiations for four years. He said it would have to force deeper cuts from other countries. Therefore it can not be renegotiated based on the request of a single Party (the US), the UNFCCC said in a statement.

"It's air pollution and public health that drove China to step up and say we're going to be a leader on climate change", said Angel Hsu, an assistant professor of environmental studies at Yale University whose research focuses in part on China's approach to climate change. "At the very least, we owe it to our future generations", said Chellam.

Today's move could potentially boost carbon-intensive industries, such as coal companies and heavy manufacturers, while reducing demand for low-carbon alternatives.

Indeed, Trump's supporters cheered the decision, which marked the fulfillment both of his campaign promise to scrap the climate accord and his broader pledge to put American interests above all else.

Schweitzer said other countries should stick to their commitments, but warned that attempting to compensate for the US withdrawal by other countries redoubling their commitments would be self-defeating.

"On a global issue like climate change, there are no national borders".

It had no comment on Trump's decision. On Thursday, he not only called the Paris accord a bad deal, he declared its rejection to be "a reassertion of America's sovereignty".

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