Obama joined the Paris Accord without a vote from Congress, meaning Trump can abandon the climate change agreement without a vote as well.
Many begged Trump to keep the US in, including 25 companies that penned an open letter published in the New York Times on May 8th. Yesterday, Elon Musk threatened to cease advising the president as part of Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum if he decided to drop US participation in the Paris Accord.
The protocol for leaving, which the president says he'll adhere to, could take four years to complete, meaning voters might be able to reverse the decision depending on who they elect to office in 2020. In fact, timing would put the US exit occurring on November 4, 2020, just one day after the next presidential election.
Trump said in the statement that if the US can renegotiate an entrance into the accord at terms more agreeable he would be willing to do so but added, "If we can't, that's fine."
The president claimed that stipulations in the agreement were unfair to the US saying, "The Paris Accord is very unfair at the highest level to the United States." He pointed to rules regarding coal production as being particularly disagreeable. "This agreement is less about the climate and more about others gaining financial advantage over the US," he said.
President Trump was expected to be bad news for the environment. And he's already rolled back a number of protective environmental measures, including the Clean Power Plan and has proposed crippling budget cuts to necessary government organizations like the EPA. This move is just the latest in a series of dangerous decisions that could harm the environment for many years to come.
Reactions are already rolling in in response to the announcement. President Obama released a statement, saying that, "But even in the absence of American leadership; even as this Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I'm confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we've got."
Amazon made a statement as well. "Amazon continues to support the Paris climate agreement and action on climate change. We believe that robust clean energy and climate policies can support American competitiveness, innovation, and job growth," said the company.
During the president's statement Elon Musk also confirmed his departure from Trump's advisory councils.
According to Reuters, Italy, France and Germany released a joint statement immediately after the announcement saying, "We deem the momentum generated in Paris in December 2015 irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated, since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies."