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World World reacts to Trump’s climate move: ‘He’s declaring war on the planet itself’

World reacts to Trump's climate move: 'He's declaring war on the planet itself'

President Donald Trump on Thursday vowed to pull the U.S. out of the 2015 Paris climate-change agreement. It sparked worldwide condemnation from leaders of countries, states, cities and companies.

Protesters gather outside the White House in Washington, Thursday, June 1, 2017, to protest President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the Unites States from the Paris climate change accord. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The historic Paris agreement – signed by virtually every country on Earth – is a vow to work together to avert the worst impacts of climate change by holding the increase in global temperatures to less than two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

In abandoning the pact – one he called a 'bad deal for America' – President Trump ignited a firestorm of criticism. The president had long criticized the 2015 agreement, claiming it would force the country to abandon its world-leading reserves of coal and create considerable job loss.


Trump’s speech in 90 seconds

In keeping with his campaign message of representing American workers, the President framed his decision as one in solidarity with the U.S. people: 'I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris," Mr. Trump said.

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Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto, however, was quick to distance himself – and his city – from Mr. Trump's stance:

Trump also mentioned Youngstown, Ohio, saying "It is time to put the people of Youngstown, Ohio; Detroit, Mich.; and Pittsburgh, Pa. back to work."

"Nothing about the U.S. withdrawal would seem to indicate any form of job creation for the city of Youngstown," said Youngstown Mayor John McNally to the Youngstown Vindicator. "The Trump administration has never discussed how the withdrawal would better the lives of Youngstown residents. So while it's nice to hear our city's name, there is no substance to the thought of putting us with other cities before Paris."

By Friday morning, dozens of U.S. mayors signed a pact vowing to ' adopt, honour and uphold' the goals enshrined by the Paris agreement, regardless of the U.S.'s official position.

Related: Trump's move raises challenges for Canada

Across the world, political and business leaders alike were quick to condemn the U.S. move, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Japan's Foreign Ministry called the U.S. withdrawal "regrettable," while the country's environment minister in Tokyo said more bluntly: "I'm not just disappointed, but also feel anger." South Africa's official statement called the decision "an abdication of global responsibility."

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Former U.S. President Barack Obama, who helped to broker the agreement in 2015, took aim at the 'absence of American leadership.'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Trump's decision 'extremely regrettable, and that's putting it mildly.'

Speaking to lawmakers Friday Merkel said, "To everyone for whom the future of our planet is important, I say let's continue going down this path so we're successful for our Mother Earth."

The comment received applause.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, who faces a general election on June 8, "expressed her disappointment with the decision," and stressed that the U.K. remained committed to the Paris agreement. For political rivals, her reaction wasn't strong enough. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn accused May of "subservience" to the President Trump.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox, who has been a vocal critic of Mr. Trump's plan to build a wall along the Mexico-U.S. border, chimed in on the climate decision, too.

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Some of the biggest names in business world also weighed in.

Tesla Inc Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk and Walt Disney Co CEO Robert Iger said on Thursday they would leave White House advisory councils.

Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg decried the U.S. move, saying it "puts our children's future at risk."

Withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement is bad for the environment, bad for the economy, and it puts our children's...

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, June 1, 2017


Trump's move cheered

But Mr. Trump's withdrawal from the Paris pact wasn't entirely without support. As reported by the Associated Press, a retired coal miner in Kentucky applauded the move: "He's keeping his promise that he's going to help get the coal jobs back, help people get back to work, and that's what we need, anywhere in this country," said Kenny Smith.

Trump aide Kellyanne Conway defended the president's position, telling Fox News: "The president believes in a clean environment."

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence backed Mr. Trump, saying the Paris deal was "a transfer of wealth from the most powerful economy in the world to other countries around the planet."

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