The United States will withdraw from the Paris climate deal, President Trump announced today.
The president described the decision as necessary to protect the U.S. economy from burdensome emissions restrictions and foreign interference in U.S. energy policy.
"In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord," Trump said during a speech in the Rose Garden at the White House, adding that negotiations would begin immediately "to re-enter either the Paris accord or really an entirely new transaction."
"So we're getting out, but we will start to negotiate, and we will see whether we can make a deal that's fair."
Trump also dismissed the U.N. Green Climate Fund as a "slush fund underwritten by American taxpayers." Trump has already pledged not to make good on the rest of President Obama's pledge to the aid fund for poor countries.
The decision ends months of uncertainty about whether Trump would fulfill his campaign pledge to "cancel" U.S. participation in the deal, which was signed by 195 countries. The U.S. joins only Syria and Nicaragua as members of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change that are not a party to the deal.
The outcome stands to send shock waves throughout diplomatic circles, where the risks of climate change are an important thread internationally on trade, development and economic policy.
Trump did not provide details about how he plans to disentangle the U.S. from the Paris Agreement. The accord specifies a four-year exit process, beginning when it took effect in November 2016.
Conservative opponents of Paris have urged the president to submit the deal to the Senate for ratification as a treaty. They say such an exercise would show how little support exists for the deal.
The decision comes after months of internal grappling. Advisers, including Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, daughter Ivanka Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, urged Trump to lessen U.S. pledges to Paris but remain a party to the deal. They hoped that European officials would help bolster their case by applying pressure to Trump during last week's trip to Europe.
But administration officials, including chief strategist Steve Bannon and U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, have organized a steady stream of outreach in recent weeks from conservative activists who said they would not accept any result other than total withdrawal from the deal.