The mayor of Paris, where a landmark global climate agreement was agreed in December 2015, said the decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to withdraw from the deal was "a mistake that would have dramatic consequences". China is the top emitter of man-made carbon dioxide emissions, and the United States is second.
John Kerry, who was a secretary of state under Obama, also issued a forceful condemnation of Trump's decision in an interview with NBC News on Thursday.
"That's not how it works".
Former Vice President Al Gore, who has been extremely active on educating about climate change in the last decade, called the decision to exit the Paris agreement "a reckless and indefensible action".
When asked on Tuesday whether Trump believes human activity is contributing to climate change, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters, "Honestly, I haven't asked him that".
However, Russia signed on to the Paris agreement, and the United States is joined only by Syria, a war-torn nation, and Nicaragua, which argued for a stronger agreement, in opposing the worldwide accord.
Trump pledged to break away from the Paris accord if elected, during the presidential campaign.
The White House invited representatives from several groups that support withdrawing from the Paris accord, including staff from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank with close ties to the administration, and Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank that gets financial support from the fossil fuel industry. Collins did not endorse Trump during the campaign.
Nadella linked to his company's official statement on the decision to exit the Paris agreement. The company said its Chevrolet Bolt electric auto, the only long-range mass-market electric vehicle in the USA, is an example of its commitment to zero-emission solutions.
Trump has expressed doubts about climate change, at times calling it a hoax to weaken U.S. industry.
Speaking from the White House, Trump said he was open to renegotiating aspects of the agreement, which was inked under his predecessor and which all nations except two have signed onto. From there, the withdrawal period takes a year: the earliest we could fully withdraw is November 2020, as the elections are wrapping up.
"One by one we are keeping the promises I made during my run for president", Trump said.
The pact is aimed at combating climate change around the world and helping nations adapt to its effects by requiring countries to present plans to reduce carbon emissions.
The president claimed Thursday that the agreement "disadvantages" the US and is "very unfair, at the highest level, to the United States". Paris withdrawal leaves American workers & families behind.
In a letter sent hours before Trump was due to announce on Thursday whether the US would pull out of the accord, the five leaders say the effects of global warming are already visible in all parts of our planet.
That is likely why the administration is trying to avoid leaving the UNFCC.
US President Donald Trump has withdrawn the United States from the Paris climate change accord, the world's first comprehensive deal on climate change. There are no consequences if the USA does not meet its greenhouse gas emissions target.
The uproar over the fact that it is considering leaving the Paris accords reflects a general consensus on the need to act to limit global warming. At that point, the US could officially submit its intent to withdraw by sending notification to the United Nations and complete the exit process a year later, on November 4, 2020 - one day after the next USA presidential election. Climate action is unstoppable. And climate solutions provide opportunities that are unmatchable...
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