At an energy conference in Pittsburgh, President Trump touted surging US natural gas and crude oil output, his efforts to roll back regulations on energy industries, and his administration’s intention to pull the US from the 2015 international climate agreement.
“The Paris Agreement would have been shutting down American producers with excessive regulatory restrictions like you would not believe, while allowing foreign producers to pollute with impunity,” said President Trump, who shared the stage with dozens of workers wearing hard hats.
“What we won’t do is punish the American people while enriching foreign polluters,” he said, adding: “I’m proud to say it, it’s called America First.”
Reuters Newsagency reports opponents of leaving the agreement say it harms US global leadership on the transition to a cleaner economy with technologies to boost wind and solar power, advanced batteries and energy conservation.
“Instead of projecting strength, this action weakens America on the world stage and cedes leadership on climate change and other challenges of our time to countries like Russia and China,” said Neera Tanden, president and chief executive of the Neera Tanden, president and chief executive of the Centre for American Progress, a liberal think tank.
Reuters reports President Trump often boasts he has already pulled the country out of the pact.
However, the first day he can officially start the process has not yet arrived.
According to the terms of the agreement, President Trump can submit a letter on November 4 to the UN to start the clock to withdraw the US formally from global climate pact.
Withdrawing takes one year, which would mean the US would leave the agreement one day after the November 3, 2020, presidential election.
Reuters reports although President Trump initially said he may seek to renegotiate the terms of the Paris Agreement to make it more favourable to the US, submitting the letter closes the door to that possibility.
President Trump said the deal was costly for the US, the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China.
The US, under former President Barack Obama, had pledged under the Paris Agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2025 to help slow global warming.
Andrew Light, a former State Department official during President Obama’s administration that helped broker the Paris Agreement, said the formal withdrawal would make it difficult for US diplomats who participate in other discussions like the Group of Seven (G7).
“It will take some time to recover from this train wreck of US diplomacy,” said Mr Light, currently a senior fellow at the World Resources Institute.