New York Times via YouTube

If it wasn’t clear before, on Thursday it became glaringly obvious that climate change has become a bitterly partisan issue in the United States. Following days of heightened speculation, President Trump announced that he would reverse his predecessor’s work by taking the U.S. off the list of countries supporting the Paris climate agreement.

Speaking at a press conference at the White House, Trump made it clear that he would make good on his campaign pledge to pull his country’s name from the international consortium of nations working to combat climate change. The president couched his comments in a way that made the terms of the Paris deal the main problem, and he seemed to leave the door open to another version that better suited his terms.

In other words, it was all about the deal — or at least that was Trump’s pitch (via The New York Times):

In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord but begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States,” the president said. “We are getting out. But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great.”

Mr. Trump said that the United States will immediately “cease all implementation of the nonbinding Paris accord” and what he said were “draconian financial” and other burdens imposed on the country by the accord.

In his remarks, Mr. Trump listed sectors of the United States economy that would suffer lost revenues and jobs if the country remained part of the accord, citing a study — disputed vigorously by environmental groups — that claims the agreement would cost 2.7 million jobs by 2025.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was among those applauding Trump for, as McConnell put it, “dealing yet another significant blow to the Obama administration’s assault on domestic energy production and jobs,” although as the Times pointed out, the GOP was not entirely united on the topic:

And for Sen. Bernie Sanders and other vocal opponents of Trump’s decision, the president’s move represents a raw deal for not just the U.S., but the planet itself (via Sanders’ official website):

President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement is an abdication of American leadership and an international disgrace. At this moment, when climate change is already causing devastating harm around the world, we do not have the moral right to turn our backs on efforts to preserve this planet for future generations.

The United States must play a leading role in the global campaign to stop climate change and transition rapidly away from fossil fuels to renewable and more efficient sources of energy. We must do this with or without the support of Donald Trump and the fossil fuel industry.

Former Vice President Al Gore echoed Sanders’ words in his own statement:

Economist Robert Reich took issue with Trump’s claim that his choice was made to promote America’s best business interests:

Wired posted a report in anticipation of Thursday’s news that broke down the actual future prospects for the fossil-fuel, alternative and other energy markets:

Natural gas and fracking—not regulations—also usurped King Coal. Coal was never a really big mover on the international stage (except during China’s boom years), and US production peaked back in 2007. In February, this trend—along with both China and India’s major commitments to renewables—prompted Goldman Sachs to publish a report on coal’s irreversible decline.

As for renewables, pulling out of Paris could cut the US out of an explosively growing market. China, India, and other growing economies have pledged billions towards renewables. The competition may have already begun. In April, Atlanta-based solar panel company Suniva filed for bankruptcy, citing an unfair advantage by Asian competitors. Adding to the drama, a Chinese wind company recently offered to teach US coal workers how to be turbine technicians. That’s the kind of thing that’ll make you want to yell out Covfefe!

Speaking of business, as he teased earlier this week, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made good on his own pledge and removed himself from the lineup of President Trump’s business advisers to send a pointed message.

And taking a similar tone to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in stating that the European Union would forge ahead with its own alliances and on its own terms:

As for Trump’s talk of renegotiation, it might be “no deal” for some of the countries at the table:

The Weather Channel made a kind of op-ed page out of its homepage after Trump’s speech while making the company’s stance on climate change far clearer than the air above Los Angeles:

Watch Trump’s announcement in full below (Note: Trump first appears in the video around the 39:30 mark):

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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