President Donald Trump pulled the plug on United States involvement in the Paris climate accord. The decision came despite a joint letter from tech industry giants urging the president to not withdraw. That letter was co-signed by Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, and 21 other companies.
However, Tump was undeterred and during a Rose Garden event he removed the US from the accord. The President says the agreement takes away US jobs and he must put the country's interests first.
While not surprising (it was a campaign promise), it is still a sweeping decision that hampers efforts to reverse global warming. The United States signed up to the Paris climate agreement when President Obama was in the White House.
The Paris Agreement is an accord between 143 counties that will see a joint effort to reduce the effects of climate change. Ultimately, the agreement seeks to limit global temperature to 2 degrees Celsius.
Microsoft was joined by fellow tech giants in a bid to stop Trump from making the controversial decision.
“As some of the largest companies based or operating in the United States, we strongly urge you to keep the United States in the Paris Agreement on climate change,” the letter reads. “Climate change presents both business risks and business opportunities. Continued U.S. participation in the agreement benefits U.S. businesses and the U.S. economy in many ways.”
The companies argue there will be economic ramifications from pulling out of the agreement. “As businesses concerned with the well-being of our customers, our investors, our communities, and our suppliers, we are strengthening our climate resilience, and we are investing in innovative technologies that can help achieve a clean energy transition,” the letter says. “For this transition to succeed, however, governments must lead as well.”
Trump described the agreement as a damaging and humiliating defeat for Americans. However, he did say there is room for negotiation if any agreement is in the interest of the USA.
“At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us as a country?” Trump asked.
“We want fair treatment,” Trump said. “We don't want other countries and other leaders to laugh at us anymore.”
While the decision adheres to Trump's “America First” policy, it has received widespread condemnation around the world, including from key allies such as the UK.