Trump promotes pulling U.S. from Paris climate accord in speech touting ‘America First’

Trump promotes pulling U.S. from Paris climate accord in speech touting 'America First'

President Donald Trump on Wednesday affirmed plans to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, less than two weeks before his administration can formally start the process.

At an energy conference in Pittsburgh, Trump touted surging U.S. natural gas and crude oil output, his efforts to roll back regulations on energy industries, and his administration’s intention to pull the United States from the 2015 international climate agreement.

“The Paris accord would have been shutting down American producers with excessive regulatory restrictions like you would not believe, while allowing foreign producers to pollute with impunity,” said Trump, who shared the stage with dozens of workers wearing hard hats.

“What we won’t do is punish the American people while enriching foreign polluters,” he said, adding: “I’m proud to say it, it’s called America First.”

Opponents of leaving the agreement say it harms U.S. global leadership on the transition to a cleaner economy with technologies to boost wind and solar power, advanced batteries and energy conservation.

“Instead of projecting strength, this action weakens America on the world stage and cedes leadership on climate change and other challenges of our time to countries like Russia and China,” said Neera Tanden, president and chief executive of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.

Trump often boasts he has already pulled the country out of the pact. But the first day he can officially start the process has not yet arrived.