In announcing that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, a global accord aimed at addressing climate change, President Trump made more than a few false and misleading claims:
- Trump said the U.S. would be exposed to “massive legal liability if we stay in” the Paris Agreement. But there is no liability mechanism in the Paris Agreement. International environmental law experts tell us that pulling out of the agreement won’t reduce U.S. exposure to liability claims and, in fact, may increase it.
- Trump called China and India the “world’s leading polluters,” referring to carbon emissions. That’s not accurate. China and the U.S. were the top emitters per kiloton in 2015.
- Trump falsely claimed the “United States has already handed over $1 billion” to the Green Climate Fund. The U.S. has contributed $500 million to the fund so far.
- The president also falsely said “nobody even knows where the money [in the Green Climate Fund] is going to.” The fund’s website outlines all of the projects that have been funded.
- Trump said the agreement would cost “close to $3 trillion in lost GDP.” That’s one estimate from a report for a business-funded group that found a much smaller impact under a different scenario. Yet another analysis said the impact of meeting the emissions targets would be “modest.”
- Trump again took credit for job gains, saying the economy has added more than a million private sector jobs since his election. That’s true, but only 493,000 of them were added since he took office.
The Paris Agreement was reached on Dec. 12, 2015. It builds on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and it was accepted by all but two of the 197 countries that were party to the convention.
Trump made his announcement on the Paris Agreement in a speech in the Rose Garden at the White House. The president, who promised during the campaign to withdraw from the climate agreement, said “the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord, but begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris accord” or another “entirely new transaction, on terms that are fair to the United States.”
The process for withdrawal isn’t easy. It will take nearly four years to complete the process, meaning that the final decision would not happen until after the 2020 presidential election.