Latest: Barack Obama criticises 'absence of American leadership' in wake of US withdrawing from Paris Agreement

Update 9.20pm: Former US President Barack Obama has expressed his disappointment at Donald Trump's decision to remove the US from the Paris Agreement and join "a small handful of nations that reject the future", saying it shows an "absence of American leadership".

"A year and a half ago, the world came together in Paris around the first-ever global agreement to set the world on a low-carbon course and protect the world we leave to our children," he said.


"It was steady, principled American leadership on the world stage that made that achievement possible. It was bold American ambition that encouraged dozens of other nations to set their sights higher as well.

"And what made that leadership and ambition possible was America's private innovation and public investment in growing industries like wind and solar industries that created some of the fastest new streams of good-paying jobs in recent years, and contributed to the longest streak of job creation in our history.

"Simply put, the private sector already chose a low-carbon future. And for the nations that committed themselves to that future, the Paris Agreement opened the floodgates for businesses, scientists, and engineers to unleash high-tech, low-carbon investment and innovation on an unprecedented scale.

"The nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created. I believe the United States of America should be at the front of the pack.

"But even in the absence of American leadership; even as this Administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; 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."

Latest: Barack Obama criticises 'absence of American leadership' in wake of US withdrawing from Paris Agreement

Update 9pm: News that the United States intends to withdraw from the Paris Agreement has been met with concern and extreme disappointment by the Irish politicians.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten expressed his concern following the announcement.

"I am extremely disappointed and concerned that the United States has decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement," said Mr Denis Naughten T.D., Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

"This is a major setback for the international community and it is essential that the decision of the United States does not weaken global resolve.”

"Ireland remains committed to continuing to work with its EU partners under the UN Framework to make the Paris Agreement a success and to ensure that all of the EU’s international partners stay committed to the Agreement.

“Upon their withdrawal the US will join Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries outside the Paris Agreement.”

Labour spokesperson on Climate Change, Sean Sherlock TD, said he is "dismayed" by Trump's decision to withdraw.

"I am really dismayed by President Trump’s announcement that the US will no longer honour its Paris Climate Accord commitments," he said.

"While the US decision will not completely derail the deal, I am concerned that it will weaken the impact, and the move sends a worrying message that one of the major global powerhouses, the United States, has decided to withdraw from the deal in its current form.

"Ireland now must up the ante with its own commitment to tackling the impact of climate change and resolve to increase efforts in this regard."

Sinn Féin MEP, Lynn Boylan added her concerns, saying the decision highlights the US President's "complete ignorance to science, facts and what is now considered a self-evident truth"

“It is deeply disturbing, yet hardly surprising, that Donald Trump has decided to backtrack on decades of progress made on climate change. The Paris Accord brought 195 countries together to work collectively to reduce the effects of climate change and it marks one of the greatest examples of international co-operation in human history.

“However, Trump's unilateral action, in an attempt to derail this crucial agreement, displays his complete ignorance to science, facts and what is now considered a self-evident truth.

"The USA is the second largest greenhouse gas polluter in the world. The failure to recognise and address this by the new US administration constitutes a severe weakening of its credibility on the world stage, with ramifications beyond climate change."

Update 20.30: President Donald Trump has confirmed that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris Accord, citing economic reasons.

Trump said the US would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, secured in the French capital in December 2015, which commits countries to curbing rising global temperatures.

But he also raised the possibility of negotiating to re-enter the Paris accord or an entirely new deal on terms that were "fair" to the US.

"In order to fulfil my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord," Trump said.

"We're getting out, but we will start to negotiate and see if we can negotiate a deal that's fair.

"As of today the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord."

He claimed the agreement was more about other countries "gaining a financial advantage over the United States" than about climate change.

"Withdrawing is in America's economic interest and won't matter much to the climate," he said.

He added that America is the "cleanest and most environmentally friendly country on Earth."

"I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris," he said.

Earlier: Reports are emerging that the US is to officially withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.

Reuters news agency is reporting that a White House document confirms the news.

The reports indicate that Trump will say the decision to withdraw 'is keeping his campaign promise to put American workers first' and that that under the Paris agreement, China would continue to increase its emissions until 2030.

The US's withdrawal from the Paris agreement to follow U.N. procedures will take up to four years.

Trump is expected to issue a statement at 8pm.

More to follow.

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