Why did Donald Trump withdraw from Paris climate accord?

During a recent interview with the Sino-US.com, Yuan Zheng, a senior researcher at the Institute of American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, shed light on the reasons why US President Donald Trump broke away from his predecessor Barack Obama's efforts in combating climate change by withdrawing from the Paris climate change accord.

Although Trump is a "weird person" in the Republican Party, he is still a member of the Republican Party, which traditionally pays less attention to the international affairs, compared with Obama who cared more about global governance such as dealing with climate change, Yuan said in the interview.

Trump will stick to the principle of "America First" to benefit the US in a unilateral manner, shrugging off the demands and voices of his allies, Yuan noted.

The Chinese researcher mainly attributed the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement to the Trump administration's unwillingness to take on more international responsibilities because the Republican Party has long been a protector of the interests of the American businesses and big companies. The US president believes that joining the Paris climate agreement means restrictions in carbon emissions, which will harm the American economy.

According to Yuan, to some extent, Trump's decision to quit the Paris climate agreement is aimed at ingratiating himself with the Republicans especially at a time when he is plagued by the Russia scandal.

Yuan also linked the withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement with the summit of the Group of Seven (G7), where Trump had big differences with his allies on many major issues including climate change, the environmental protection and trade. At this year's North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit, Trump disgruntled his European allies by asking them to share the military expenditure.

When asked about whether China will become a world leader in combating climate change under the framework of the Paris climate agreement which is not attended by the US, Yuan said that China will continue to shoulder its international responsibilities as a developing country. But he said that the China-US climate cooperation may see some uncertainties after the US pulled out of the Paris climate agreement.

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