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Idaho Environmental Advocates Rip Trump's Withdrawal From Paris Climate Accord


President Donald Trump broke with more than 190 signatory nations to the Paris climate accord Thursday afternoon, announcing at the White House the U.S. would abandon the landmark pact.

"I don't want anything to get in our way. ... In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America," Trump said, the U.S. "will withdraw from the Paris climate accord."

Before citing numerous examples of ways in which he claimed the agreement harms American industry, Trump said the U.S. will begin the process of negotiating "to reenter either the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States."

"We're getting out, but we will start to negotiate and see if we can reach another deal," he said.

Trump's announcement immediately triggered concern among Idaho environmental advocates, including those at the Boise office of the Sierra Club.

"'[Trump] will surrender the standard of American leadership on climate, leaving us to stand with Syria and Nicaragua as the only nations that aren't part of the Paris climate accord," said Zack Waterman, director of the Sierra Club Idaho Chapter. "Our children and grandchildren will look back on this decision, stunned that one world leader could be divorced from reality and morality."

Meanwhile, Idaho Conservation League Energy Associate Ben Otto called Trump's announcement "disappointing."

"People should care because they should expect more from our government," he said.

The New York Times reported Trump's decision "was a victory for Stephen Bannon, his chief strategist, and Scott Pruitt, his Environmental Protection Agency administrator, both of whom had argued forcefully to abandon the global agreement."

Under the terms of the accord, every signing country—rich or poor, and totaling 195 nations—would set goals to curb carbon emissions in an effort to avert the worst effects of climate change.

For Trump, who has repeatedly cast doubt on whether climate change is real—at one point in 2012 claiming "global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive"—the accord "is a BAD deal for Americans," according to White House talking points distributed ahead of the announcement Thursday.