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Donald Trump pulls out of Paris climate deal, slams India and China

In a stunning rebuke to world leaders, his own courtiers, India and China, Donald Trump has announced that the US will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and instead begin negotiations to "re-enter either the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction”, fulfilling one his his campaign pledges that will draw wild cheers from America’s coal country that voted Trump.

Justifying his shock move, Trump used India and China as key drivers for his decision: "Not only does this deal subject our citizens to harsh economic restrictions, it fails to live up to our environmental ideals. As someone who cares deeply about the environment, which I do, I cannot in good conscience support a deal that punishes the United States -- which is what it does -– the world’s leader in environmental protection, while imposing no meaningful obligations on the world’s leading polluters. For example, under the agreement, China will be able to increase these emissions by a staggering number of years -- 13. They can do whatever they want for 13 years. Not us. India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries. There are many other examples. But the bottom line is that the Paris Accord is very unfair, at the highest level, to the United States", Trump said.

Criticism rained down thick and fast from around the world, Tesla founder Elon Musk confirmed he would quit White House business panels, heads of state expressed sadness and outrage.

"While reports of the end of the Western-led liberal world order may be premature, at least on climate change, Washington has just become the spoiler. And New Delhi? A multilateralist champion", writes wonk Alyssa Ayres of Council on Foreign Relations.

Link: Trump's statement on pulling out of Paris climate deal, video starts at TC 1:03:24

“Trump says Paris imposes no obligation on world's biggest polluters. He cites India. whose per cap emissions are a tenth of America’s,” scoffs James Astill of The Economist who insists Trump makes more sense while “tweeting gibberish”.

Trump did not stop with a single reference to India, he hammered away repeatedly: "China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants. So we can’t build the plants, but they can, according to this agreement. India will be allowed to double its coal production by 2020. Think of it: India can double their coal production. We’re supposed to get rid of ours. Even Europe is allowed to continue construction of coal plants."

The United States is the world’s second-largest carbon polluter and its bid to cut emissions so that global warming is limited to less than 2ºC is a critical part of the Paris agreement. Together, the US, China and India are the top three carbon polluters in the world. Focus now shifts to what the US-less climate groupings will do.

None of this US backtracking will kick in immediately though - the U.S. withdrawal will take until November 2020 to unravel timing perfectly with the next election.

 Donald Trump pulls out of Paris climate deal, slams India and China

Trump gestures while announcing the US pullout from the Paris climate deal/ Reuters

Is this Trump’s way of distracting media coverage from the coming high drama of a Comey testimony or is he serious, a shocked wonkery circuit is asking.

Trump’s line is that pulling out will put the shine back on American coal mining but experts say this is merely well crafted political messaging to woo voters who are easily angered because they are already so badly off. Coal miners are struggling because cheap and generous supply of natural gas is flooding the market.

Critics are slamming Trump’s decision - Trump has instead chosen to abuse the health of the planet, the patience of America’s allies and the intelligence of his supporters, says The Economist.

In the fag end of 2015, nearly 200 countries signed the Paris agreement setting individual targets to reduce global emissions to 56 gigatons in 2030.

These emissions include carbon dioxide generated from burning fossil fuels that scientists blame for a warming planet ( because they trap heat ), sea level rise, droughts and more frequent violent storms. Last year was the warmest since the 19th century.

The US now joins Syria and Nicaragua as the world's only pull-outs in the 195-nation accord.

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Updated Date: Jun 02, 2017 18:13:08 IST