I represent people of Pittsburgh, not Paris: Donald Trump

U.S. President says America is being taken for a ride by partners, friends and foes; decision to exit climate deal triggers widespread criticism.

Updated - December 03, 2021 05:05 pm IST

Published - June 02, 2017 09:30 pm IST - Washington

A Greenpeace banner is projected onto the facade of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin on June 2, 2017.

A Greenpeace banner is projected onto the facade of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin on June 2, 2017.

U.S. President Donald Trump heard economic, moral and political arguments for America’s continuation in the treaty from advisers, including his daughter Ivanka Trump, and foreign leaders such as Pope Francis, before deciding to quit the Paris pact.

“He’s stayed where he’s always been, and not for a lack of trying by those who have an opposite opinion,” Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to the President, told Washington Post . “He started with a conclusion, and the evidence brought him to the same conclusion.”

The economic argument has been that a global climate regime would create wealth and jobs in America; the moral argument has been that America is one of the world’s biggest polluters per capita; and the political argument has been that a withdrawal would amount to an American surrender of global leadership which could go to China.

Redistribution of wealth

Mr. Trump rejected all that, and said the agreement would lead to a redistribution of American wealth to other countries and transfer of American jobs abroad. He said the deal “disadvantages the U.S. to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.”

Hinging his decision on his election-winning ‘America First’ politics, the President said the U.S. was being taken for a ride by all its partners, friends and foes. “We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore.”


In an oblique reference to pleas from European leaders at the G-7 summit in Sicily recently that the U.S. must stay on in the treaty, the President said: “Foreign leaders in Europe, Asia, and across the world should not have more to say with respect to the U.S. economy than our own citizens and their elected representatives. I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

Leaders slam decision

But his decision was criticised by several leaders at home and abroad. Bill Peduto, the Democratic mayor of Pittsburgh, a city that symbolises the rise and fall of the U.S. coal and steel industries, said the city would proceed with plans made as Paris commitments.

“Pittsburgh is the example. We were that city that China is like today where the smoke was so, filled the air so much, that the streetlights would stay on 24 hours,” he told a TV station.

Former President Obama said he was confident that American “States, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got.”

Carbon reduction targets that the U.S. set under Paris commitment aimed at reducing emissions by 26-28% in a decade. The U.S. has stopped contributing to the Green Climate Fund set up under the Paris agreement to support developing countries meet their commitment. The Obama administration had committed $3 billion to the fund of which one billion dollars has been transferred.

Meanwhile, European Council President Donald Tusk termed President Trump’s decision “a big mistake”. “Today, we are stepping up our cooperation on climate change with China,” Mr. Tusk said after EU-China summit in Brussels.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who met with Li on Thursday in Berlin, pledged “more decisive action than ever” to protect the climate after Mr. Trump’s “highly regrettable” decision. Germany is the driving force behind the Europe Union’s economy, one of the world’s biggest with more than 500 million people.


Earlier France, Germany and Italy had issued a joint statement saying the Paris deal cannot be renegotiated.

The U.S. is the world’s second largest greenhouse gas emitter after China, so Mr. Trump’s decision could hamper efforts to cut emissions and limit global temperature increases.

(With AFP inputs)

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