President Donald Trump will exit the Paris Agreement, a landmark international pact to combat climate change worldwide, a White House official confirmed Thursday afternoon.
Michael Catanzaro, an energy adviser in the Trump administration, told members of Congress during a conference call that “the United States is getting out of the Paris agreement,” according to the Daily Beast, which had reporters listening in on the call. Multiple members of Congress have since confirmed the decision.
Trump officially announced the decision at the White House on Thursday afternoon. “I’m am fighting every day for the people of this country,” Trump said. “Therefore … the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.”
The president added that the U.S. would be willing to reenter the Paris Agreement or a new agreement if the Trump administration is able to renegotiate terms that he views as more beneficial to the U.S.
Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Accord—a move he promised on the campaign trail—will spark controversy worldwide as the president puts the United States at odds with the nearly 200 countries that joined the international agreement.
The Paris Agreement, enacted in November, aims to limit global temperature increases to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels, reduce the production of greenhouse gasses, and create a $100 billion-per-year fund to handle the effects of climate change.
Whether to exit the Paris climate agreement reportedly sparked division within the Trump administration. Chief strategist Steve Bannon and Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Scott Pruitt argued that Trump should leave the agreement on the grounds that it would hurt the U.S. economy. Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser, as well as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson—formerly the CEO of ExxonMobil—pushed the president to remain in the deal on the grounds that it would harm America’s standing in the world and ability to work with other nations on climate and energy issues.
Former President Barack Obama, who entered the U.S. into the Paris Climate Accord, issued a statement during Trump’s White House address, condemning the president’s decision as counterproductive.
Obama statement on Paris Climate Agreement pic.twitter.com/htevQcZASg— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) June 1, 2017
Update 2:43pm CT: Added statements from Trump and Obama.