Trump pulls US from Paris climate accord; Colorado's elected officials react

Posted at 12:51 PM, Jun 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-01 20:12:23-04

WASHINGTON — The Latest on Donald Trump and climate change (all times Eastern; Colorado reaction at bottom of story):

5:15 p.m.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement "a major disappointment." He says through a spokesman it's "crucial that the United States remains a leader on environmental issues."

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric (steh-FAHN' doo-ZHAR'-ihk) said Thursday the U.N. chief believes the transformation envisioned in the accord is already underway.

Dujarric says the secretary-general is confident that cities, states and businesses around the world "will continue to demonstrate vision and leadership by working for the low-carbon, resilient economic growth that will create quality jobs and markets for 21st century prosperity."

He said the secretary-general "looks forward to engaging with the American government and all actors in the United States and around the world to build the sustainable future on which our grandchildren depend."


5:15 p.m.

The world's largest retailer, Walmart, is urging countries to work together on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, even as President Donald Trump said he's pulling the United States out of an international agreement to combat climate change.

Walmart says international cooperation "is a laudable and necessary goal."

The company earlier this year launched Project Gigaton, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout its supply chain by 1 billion tons by 2030.

The company says, "Our commitments to renewable energy and emission reductions have been embedded in our business for more than a decade, and we believe they are good for our customers, good for our business and good for our environment."

Walmart spokesman Greg Hitt says they see those commitments as "outside politics" and don't expect to change them.


5:10 p.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is joining in a chorus of Democrats opposed to President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

Biden says on Twitter: "We're already feeling impacts of climate change."

The former vice president says that exiting the agreement "imperils U.S. security and our ability to own the clean energy future."

Biden as vice president supported former President Barack Obama's efforts to take part in the Paris accord and fight the effects of climate change.


5 p.m.

The leaders of France, Germany and Italy say the Paris climate accord cannot be renegotiated as President Donald Trump has demanded.

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni said in a joint statement Thursday that they take note "with regret" the U.S. decision to pull out of the 2015 agreement.

The three leaders say they regard the accord as "a cornerstone in the cooperation between our countries, for effectively and timely tackling climate change."

They added that the course charted by the accord is "irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated."

Macron, Merkel and Gentiloni say they remain committed to the deal and will "step up efforts" to support the poorest and most threatened nations.


5 p.m.

Microsoft's President Brad Smith tweeted that the company is "disappointed" by President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. Smith says Microsoft will keep working to achieve the accord's goals.

In an emailed statement, retail giant Amazon says it also still supports the climate agreement, and that clean-energy policies are good for American jobs and innovation.


4:55 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (AHN'-geh-lah MEHR'-kuhl) says she regrets President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord.

Her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Thursday on Twitter that Merkel would continue to put all efforts into climate policy "to save our Earth."

Social Democratic members of Merkel's Cabinet issued a separate joint statement saying "the United States is harming itself, us Europeans and all other people in the world."

The ministers, including Germany's top diplomat Sigmar Gabriel, said Trump's move threatened economic growth and technical progress.

They called the decision "a political error, because it calls the international reliability of treaties into question."

The ministers said they would "keep the door open" for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris accord again.


4:50 p.m.

Congressional Republicans are applauding President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, but Democrats are slamming the decision.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Trump has "put families and jobs ahead of left-wing ideology and should be commended."

House Speaker Paul Ryan says that "the Paris climate agreement was simply a raw deal for America."

But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York says the move is "a devastating failure of historic proportions" — and "one of the worst policy moves made in the 21st century."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California says it's "a stunning abdication of American leadership and a grave threat to our planet's future."


4:50 p.m.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry says President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement means the U.S. "will no longer be bound by an agreement unilaterally entered into by the Obama administration."

Perry is a former Texas governor. He says that instead of preaching about clean energy, the Trump administration will act on it.

Perry adds: "Our work and deeds are more important than empty words. I know you can drive economic growth and protect the environment at the same time, because that is exactly what I did as governor of Texas."

Perry is on a nine-day trip to Japan and China. He said from Tokyo that the U.S. will continue to develop "next generation technology" in energy, including nuclear energy, liquefied natural gas and renewables such as wind and solar power.


4:47 p.m.

France, Germany, Italy issue joint statement saying Paris climate accord can't be renegotiated.


4:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump has lost the support of a top billionaire business leader over his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate deal.

Elon Musk writes on Twitter that he is "departing presidential councils," something he had vowed to do if Trump took this step. Musk writes: "Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world."

Musk is the founder of SpaceX and Tesla among other companies. He's been a member of Trump's infrastructure council, manufacturing jobs council and strategic and policy forum.

General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, another member of Trump's business councils, writes on Twitter that he is "disappointed" with Trump's decision on Paris.

Says Immelt, "Industry must now lead and not depend on government."


4:40 p.m.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (ZIN'-kee) is applauding President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. His reaction comes a day after Zinke said he could not comment on the accord because he had not read it.

Zinke said Thursday during a visit to Alaska that "America's energy and economic destiny should be up to the United States, not the United Nations."

Zinke praised Trump for taking "bold and decisive action to pull the U.S. out of the poorly negotiated Paris accord that would kill American jobs and manufacturing while doing little to protect the environment."

Zinke told reporters Wednesday that he has "yet to read what the actual Paris agreement is" and "would like to sit down and read" the 2015 accord before commenting.


4:35 p.m.

John Kerry says President Donald Trump has taken "a self-destructive step" that puts America last.

The former secretary of state is a co-signer of the Paris climate accord. He released a statement Thursday following Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the agreement.

Kerry says it's "an unprecedented forfeiture of American leadership which will cost us influence, cost us jobs and invite other countries to walk away from solving humanity's most existential crisis."

Kerry called the decision "an ignorant, cynical appeal to an anti-science, special-interest faction far outside the mainstream."

Kerry signed the agreement at the U.N. in 2016 with his granddaughter seated on his lap.

He says, "That is no basis for a decision that will affect billions of lives."


4:35 p.m.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox is harshly criticizing President Donald Trump for withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate agreement.

Fox has clashed with Trump since last year's presidential campaign, and he let loose Thursday with a series of tweets saying the decision "condemns this generation and those to come."

Fox tweets of Trump: "He's declaring war on the planet itself."

He accused Trump of "leaving a dark legacy just to satisfy your greediness" and surrendering the nation's future.

Fox concludes: "United States has stopped being the leader of the free world. @realDonaldTrump, single handed, took care of that."


4:20 p.m.

Mayors from major cities around the world say they remain committed to the Paris climate accord despite President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the deal.

In a statement Thursday, mayors of the world's megacities committed to addressing climate change said that despite the U.S. move, American cities can continue to play a role in trying to prevent catastrophic global warming.

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, says climate change "poses a unique threat to the future of our planet, and puts in peril the health, prosperity, security and the very survival of our children and grandchildren."

Hidalgo says she's urging the Trump administration to reconsider the decision.

Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin, Texas, said his city won't stop fighting climate change.


4:20 p.m.

The European Union's top climate change official says President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris accord makes it "a sad day for the global community."

The EU's climate action commissioner, Miguel Arias Canete (cah-NEY'-tey), said in a statement Thursday that the bloc "deeply regrets the unilateral decision by the Trump administration."

Canete says the 2015 accord is "ambitious yet not prescriptive."

He says the agreement will endure, and he pledged that "the world can continue to count on Europe for global leadership."

Canete also predicted that the EU would seek new alliances from the world's largest economies to the most vulnerable island states, as well as U.S. businesses and individuals supportive of the accord.

He added: "We are on the right side of history."


4:20 p.m.

Norway's largest pension fund, Storebrand, says it will continue to invest in renewable energy despite President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord.

Storebrand says "the transition toward a greener economy in the U.S. will not stop due to withdrawing from the Paris agreement."

The fund, which has 53 billion euros ($59.5 billion) in assets under management, said in a statement Thursday that "Donald Trump is jumping off a train that has already left the station."

Chief executive Odd Arild Grefstad cited the growth of renewable energy in states such as Texas, New York and California as signs that "the world has started the transition from fossil to a renewable economy."

He added: "We will continue to invest accordingly."


4:15 p.m.

Former Vice President Al Gore is calling the decision to exit the Paris agreement "a reckless and indefensible action."

Gore says the move "undermines America's standing in the world." He released the statement as President Donald Trump was speaking at the White House Rose Garden.

The former vice president has defined his postgovernment life as a climate champion. He urges mayors, governors and the business community to take up where Trump is leaving off, especially by focusing on clean energy.

Gore says: "We are in the middle of a clean energy revolution that no single person or group can stop. President Trump's decision is profoundly in conflict with what the majority of Americans want from our president."


4 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the Paris accord is more about other nations gaining a "financial advantage" over the U.S. than it is about climate change.

The president is speaking in the White House Rose Garden Thursday where he just announced America's withdrawal from the Paris climate change accord.

Trump says, "This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries obtaining a financial advantage over the United States."

The president said the agreement gives "countries an economic edge over the United States," adding, "that's not going to happen while I'm president."

He says that he is seeking to create a "level playing field" and establish the "highest standard of living, highest standard of environmental protection."

Trump adds, "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris."


3:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the United States will immediately cease "all implementation" of Paris climate change accord standards.

Trump announced Thursday that the United States is withdrawing from the landmark 190-nation agreement to reduce earth-warming gases.

The president said that the nation would stop adhering to the emissions reductions standards immediately. The agreement was nonbinding.

Trump painted the original deal as "unfair" to American workers and taxpayers, suggesting that other countries had more favorable agreements.

He also said that the United States would be willing to re-enter the deal on "better terms."


3:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump has announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, but will begin negotiations to "re-enter either the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction."

Trump says during a White House Rose Garden announcement that the U.S. will exit the landmark climate agreement aimed at reducing carbon emissions to slow climate change.

Trump says the deal "disadvantages" the U.S. and is causing lost jobs and lower wages.

The announcement fulfills one of Trump's top campaign pledges. But it also undermines world efforts to combat global warming.

The U.S. had agreed under former President Barack Obama to reduce emissions to 26 percent to 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2025 — about 1.6 billion tons.


3:45 p.m.

Former President Barack Obama says the Trump administration is joining "a small handful of nations that reject the future" by withdrawing from the Paris climate change pact.

Obama is defending the deal that his administration painstakingly negotiated. He says the countries that stay in the Paris deal will "reap the benefits in "jobs and industries created." He says the U.S. should be "at the front of the pack."

The former president says in a statement that Trump's decision reflects "the absence of American leadership." But Obama says he's confident nonetheless that U.S. cities, states and businesses will fill the void by taking the lead on protecting the climate.

Obama says that businesses have chosen "a low-carbon future" and are already investing heavily in renewable sources like wind and solar.


3:40 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence says President Donald Trump is "choosing to put American jobs and American consumers first" with his announcement that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris accord.

Pence introduced Trump in the Rose Garden Thursday. Trump is expected to announce that the U. S. will withdraw from the Paris global climate pact. That's according to a White House official, congressional officials and others briefed by the White House.

Pence praised Trump's leadership and said Trump is "is choosing to put the forgotten men and women of America first."

Abandoning the pact was one of Trump's principal campaign pledges.


2: 45 p.m.

President Donald Trump will announce that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris climate change accord.

That's according to multiple congressional officials and others briefed by the White House on the decision.

According to those briefed, Trump will argue that the Paris pact is a bad deal for American workers and was poorly negotiated by the Obama administration.

Those briefed by the White House insisted on anonymity in order to discuss the matter ahead of Trump's announcement Thursday afternoon in the Rose Garden.

Colorado's elected officials react to decision

Colorado’s Democratic members of Congress and other elected officials reacted with dismay to Trump’s decision, saying Colorado will remain committed to capping carbon emissions.

Republicans, meanwhile, either praised Trump’s decision as a “win” for Colorado, or lamented that the Paris accords were never submitted to Congress to approve what they say is a "treaty":

Sen. Michael Bennet (D)

“The President made a catastrophic mistake by putting a misguided campaign promise before the needs of our economy and the credibility of American diplomacy. Before this decision, the United States was on track to achieve energy independence, reduce its carbon footprint, and create good-paying jobs in rural communities—with Colorado leading the way. Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement attempts to undercut the progress we have made. 

“In Colorado, we will continue working to meet the carbon emissions targets set in the Clean Power Plan. The administration should reverse this shortsighted decision and work to protect our planet, economy, and national security.”

Sen. Cory Gardner (R)

"The last Administration never submitted the Paris Climate Agreement to Congress and acted unilaterally. When Congress is bypassed, a president’s orders can be reversed by a future presidential action. The American people deserve to have a say in our energy future and Congress is the appropriate place to debate these important issues. I will continue to work with my colleagues to grow the economy, create jobs, and protect the environment for future generations of Coloradans."

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO-01)

“Pulling out of the Paris Agreement won’t happen overnight, but this announcement’s impact will be immediate: It signals that the United States cannot be counted on to stick to its promises and is prepared to cede leadership in yet another area that is crucial to our future. After ridiculing international trade agreements, failing to stand up firmly for NATO’s Article 5 commitments and treating our traditional alliances with scorn, the president evidently is willing to renege on an accord to which all countries but Syria and Nicaragua have agreed. Why is he looking to alienate the United States?  ‘America First’ is turning into ‘America Alone.’

“This step defies scientific consensus about the effects of climate change. It will imperil future generations. And it will empower other countries that honor the Paris Agreement, leading them to create opportunities for innovation and a surging clean energy sector while our country is left in the dust.”

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO-02)

"The President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the largest multi-national climate agreement in history, flies in the face of both economics and science. While 195 other nations are moving forward to create 21st century jobs, reduce carbon emissions, and advance innovative energy, the United States will now be less competitive in the global economy. We cannot afford to disregard the health and well-being of future generations and the overwhelming evidence that humans are the leading contributors to climate change.

“Companies, states, and local governments throughout the United States, have already begun to fill the void left by this administration’s actions, leading the way on clean energy initiatives and reducing our carbon footprint. Unlike this administration, I will continue to help find ways for Colorado and the United States to strongly address climate change and further clean energy technologies and jobs.”   

Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO-03)

Rep. Tipton has yet to offer a comment.

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO-04)

"The President’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord is a win for Colorado. The deal disproportionately hurts the US and let's [sic] the world's worst polluters off the hook."

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO-05)

Rep. Lamborn has yet to offer a comment.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO-06)

"President Obama should have submitted the Paris climate agreement to the Senate for ratification as a treaty. Now President Trump should do what his predecessor failed to do - follow Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution and take it before the Senate for a debate and a vote.

“I hope that we can be a part of a renegotiated climate treaty, ratified by the United States Senate, to continue our nation's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO-07)

“President Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement is wrong and takes our country and Colorado backwards not forward. I'm disappointed and frustrated by this decision. Clearly climate change is a threat to our way of life in Colorado. 


“Colorado is a proven leader in developing technologies that reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. I will continue to fight for the progress we’ve made in Colorado and push to reduce the impact of climate change in our communities.” 

Gov. John Hickenlooper (D)

“It is a serious mistake to back out of the Paris Accord. This is a historic global agreement between almost every nation on earth to address the single most pressing issue facing humanity. Abandoning this climate deal is like ripping off your parachute when you should be pulling the ripcord.  

“America’s greatness has always been demonstrated by our moral leadership. Today, we break ranks with 190 nations who are working together to stop the worst effects of climate change, which the scientific community agrees would devastate the global economy and our planet, and the defense community agrees would destabilize vulnerable nations that have served as breeding grounds for international terrorism.   

“The U.S. is letting go the reins of world leadership, allowing other countries like Russia, India, and China to take our seat at the international table. Our economic and technological competitiveness will suffer. Isolationism is not leadership.


“Colorado’s commitment to clean air and clean energy will continue. Clean energy is abundant, home-grown, and creates 21st century jobs for our modern workforce across every part of our state. We renew our commitment to pursue cleaner energy at a lower cost. To do otherwise would be governmental malpractice.”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (D)

The U.S. Conference of Mayors said in a statement Thursday that the U.S. and other nations need to address climate change to become energy independent, self-reliant and resilient, according to the AP.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock issued a statement in anticipation of the U.S. pulling out of the Paris accords by saying Denver will maintain its commitment to the rules laid out under Paris and continue to try and fulfill its climate action plan.

“Denver has been a leader in combating climate change and in growing the clean energy economy,” the mayor said. “We will not back down from our commitment to address this global threat and will continue the pledge to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement even in the absence of federal leadership.”