WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed on Thursday that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris climate deal signed two years ago by President Obama.
Syria, Nicaragua and the U.S. are now the only countries that are not members of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Nicaragua did not sign the deal because it didn’t go far enough.
The move to leave the deal will create uncertainty about the future of the renewable energy industry in the U.S, John Sterman, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and senior adviser at Climate Interactive, told Business Insider.
The U.S. coal industry wanted to stay part of the agreement to influence future negotiations. Critics such as former secretary of state John Kerry believe that leaving the deal will weaken America’s global leadership, NPR reported.
The move has also sparked fears that China and other nations could implement a carbon tax on U.S. exports.
The U.S. has so far paid a third of the US$3 billion that President Obama pledged to the Green Climate Fund set up after the Paris agreement was signed. The decision to leave the deal will save American taxpayers $2 billion, but could impact U.S. jobs in the renewable energy sector.
The Paris climate agreement calls for a limit in the rise of global temperatures to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2020. Scientists say an increase above that level could have catastrophic implications for the planet.