Donald Trump has withdrawn the US from the international climate change agreement.
Donald Trump has withdrawn the US from the international climate change agreement. JOHN MCCONNICO

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PRESIDENT Donald Trump will withdraw the US from the Paris agreement to curb climate change, in a move that critics have slammed as "catastrophic" and "reckless".

This puts the US at odds with 194 countries - including Australia - that signed up to the deal in 2015, which is designed to slow global warming and rising sea levels.

Former US president Barack Obama was quick the slam the decision, as did former vice-president Al Gore, who said the withdrawal was "reckless and indefensible".

CNN columnist John D Sutter categorised the pullout as "catastrophic both for this country and the planet".

The announcement, made Thursday afternoon in the White House Rose Garden, fulfils Mr Trump's election promise to pull out of the pact, which he has described as a job killer.

"As of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country," Mr Trump said.

"So we're getting out but we'll start to negotiate and we will see if we can make a deal that's fair. And if we can, that's great. And if we can't, that's fine," he said.

Mr Trump suggested that other nations were "laughing" at the US and that the accord was "about other countries gaining an advantage over the United States".

"At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us as a country?" Mr Trump said.

"We want fair treatment for its citizens and we want fair treatment for our taxpayers.

"We don't want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore, and they won't be, they won't be.

"I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburg, not Paris."

Mr Trump's announcement was met with applause from the crowd of supporters gathered in the Rose Garden.

The President said the US would endeavour to either re-enter the Paris Climate Accord or propose a new deal "on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers".

"As President, I can put no other consideration before the wellbeing of American citizens," he said.

"The Paris climate agreement is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers - who I love - and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories and vastly diminished economic production."

The decision means the US will pull out of the Green Climate Fund, which Mr Trump said cost the country "a vast fortune".

Citing a study by the National Economic Research Associates (NERA), the President said the compliance with the deal could have cost the US as many as 2.7 million jobs by 2025.

He said the agreement would "decimate" the coal, steel and car manufacturing industries.

Mr Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, released a statement, slamming the withdrawal.

"This administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future," Mr Obama said.

"I'm confident that our 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."

Mr Trump has argued behind closed doors in Washington that the Paris accord was a bad deal for America and was poorly negotiated by the Obama administration.

Before Mr Trump's official position was made public, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed that Australia was still committed to the accord.

"When Australia makes a commitment to a global agreement, we follow through and that's exactly what we're doing," he told Parliament.

Critics have argued that Mr Trump's decision amounts to the US shirking its responsibility as the leader of the free world.

The withdrawal puts the US in a dubious club with Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries to reject the agreement.

News Corp Australia

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