President Donald Trump is moving the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, signed by nearly 200 other nations.
Trump said Thursday that the Paris agreement hurts U.S. economic growth, costs millions of American jobs and puts U.S. firms at a disadvantage. However, his decision contrasted with the views of hundreds of American business leaders who urged him to continue participating in the climate agreement.
While the president said Washington would stop implementing the Paris accord immediately, he added that he would begin negotiations aimed at rejoining the Paris accord or a similar agreement on terms more advantageous to the United States.
“We will see if we can make a deal that’s fair,” Trump said. An audience at the White House Rose Garden warmly applauded his announcement.
Among the many corporations that opposed the move to bow out of the Paris Agreement were Mars, Nike, Levi Strauss and Starbucks. Their top corporate officers signed a letter to Trump several months ago, arguing that failing to build a low-carbon economy would put U.S. “prosperity at risk.”
WATCH: Trump: US ‘Will Cease All Implementation’ of Paris Climate Accord
Trump: ‘Fortune’ at stake
Trump said the climate agreement, as presently written, would cost U.S. businesses “a vast fortune” and lead to the loss of 7 million jobs by 2025.
Tesla founder Elon Musk tried to persuade the president to stay in the accord and said Wednesday that he would quit the White House business advisory council if Washington left the Paris Agreement.
GE chief Jeff Immelt has written that customers, partners and countries are demanding technology that generates electric power while improving energy efficiency and cutting costs.
Oil companies like Chevron and ExxonMobil recently argued that the Paris Agreement gives their firms a more predictable future, and therefore more manageable one. The oil companies and some coal firms also say remaining part of the accord helps maintain U.S. influence over future talks.
Earlier this week, more than 60 percent of Exxon shareholders voted to require that the firm do more analysis and disclosure of the likely impact of tougher climate policies on company revenue. Previous efforts to force such disclosures failed to get a majority of votes from shareholders.
Some other business, Republican and conservative groups agreed with Trump’s action. The Heritage Foundation, for example, said the accord produces “devastating” economic costs and “zero” environmental benefits.