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Donald Trump withdraws US from Paris climate accord

Withdrawal from 2016 agreement, in line with president's election campaign promise, could take up to four years.

Donald Trump

The US is withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, President Donald Trump has announced at a White House Rose Garden speech.

Before the announcement, Trump informed Congress about his decision preparing Republican legislators with arguments and lines to take in the face of an expected blowback. 

Trump said it was his solemn duty to protect "America and its citizens" and that "the US will withdraw from the Paris climate accord, but begin negotiations to re-enter the Paris accord or a new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States.

"So we are getting out, but we will start to negotiate and see if we can make a deal that's fair", Trump added.

He described the Paris climate accord as an "agreement that is disadvantageous to the US to the exclusive benefits of other countries".

Trump announced that as of Thursday, "the US will cease all implementation of the accord and the draconian measures [it] imposes on our country".

The withdrawal also includes the cancellation of all US contributions to the Green Climate Fund, which Trump said was "costing the US a vast fortune".

According to the rules of the 2016 Paris deal, stepping out of its provisions will be a lengthy process that could take up to four years.

Trump also said he could not "in good conscience support a deal that punishes the US and that poses no punishment for the world's great polluters".

He went on to claim that "the nations asking us to stay in the agreement are the same nations that cost America trillions of dollars through unfair trade agreements, and the same that do not contribute to military alliances".

"At what point do they start laughing at us? [...] I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburg, not the citizens of Paris," Trump added.

The US' withdrawal from the accord fulfils a major campaign promise and is in line with his America First policy as laid out before being elected president.

Trump's promise to withdraw the US from the accord drew condemnation from across the globe.

"Climate change is not a fairy tale," Antonio Tajani, European Parliament president, said on Wednesday.

"People die or are obliged to leave their homes because of desertification, lack of water, exposure to disease, extreme weather conditions."

Jean Claude Juncker, European Commission president, warned that quitting the Paris agreement is not a straightforward process.

"The Americans can't just leave the climate protection agreement," Juncker announced in Germany on Wednesday.

"Mr Trump believes that because he doesn't know the details."

Juncker said it is the "duty of Europe" to tell the US how the agreement works.

Earlier on Thursday, China said it will keep up its end of the Paris climate change accord, even if the US pulls out from the agreement.

Li Keqiang, China's prime minister, said his country will continue to work with the EU and other countries to uphold the deal.

Speaking after bilateral talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Li said it was "also in our interest ... to work step by step towards sustainable development" and environmental protection together with the international community.

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