President Donald Trump says the US is withdrawing from the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
President Donald Trump has announced that the US is withdrawing from the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
He said moves to negotiate a new deal that would not disadvantage the US would begin.
Mr Trump said during last year’s presidential election campaign that he would take the step to help his country’s oil and coal industries.
Opponents say withdrawing from the accord is an abdication of US leadership on a key global challenge.
The Paris agreement commits the US and 187 other countries to keeping global temperatures “well below” the level of 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times and “endeavour to limit” them even more, to 1.5C.
Earlier, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres again appealed to Mr Trump not to break the commitment – but said the battle against climate change would continue regardless of the US stance.
Mr Guterres told the BBC: “It is obviously a very important decision as the United States is the biggest economy in the world.
“But independently of the decision of the American government, it’s important that all other governments stay the course.
“The Paris agreement is essential for our collective future and it’s also important that American society – like all other societies, the business community – mobilise themselves in order to preserve the Paris agreement as a central piece to guarantee the future of our children and grandchildren.
Meanwhile, Chinese and EU leaders are set to agree a joint statement backing the Paris agreement, saying it is “an imperative more important than ever”.
The statement – a draft of which has been seen by the BBC – says rising temperatures affect national security and increase “social and political fragility”, while the transition to clean energy creates jobs and economic growth.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has said his country will honour its commitments on climate change.
Speaking on a visit to Germany, he said fighting climate change was in China’s own interests.
“China will continue to implement the promises made in the Paris accord. But of course we also hope to do this with the co-operation of others,” Mr Li said.
As a big developing country, China had an “international responsibility” to try to prevent climate change, he added. China overtook the US as the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2007.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany would stick to its commitments under the 2015 agreement. “I consider it an essential treaty… and I am happy that other countries see it the same way.”
Russia also said it would stick to its climate commitments, but said the Paris agreement would be affected by a US pullout. “It goes without saying that the effectiveness of this convention is likely to be reduced without its key participants,” a Kremlin spokesman said.
Mr Trump’s refusal to commit to the Paris agreement caused frustration at a G7 meeting last week, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel describing the discussion as “difficult, not to say dissatisfying”.
What was agreed in Paris?
Climate change, or global warming, refers to the damaging effect of gases, or emissions, released from industry and agriculture on the atmosphere.
The Paris accord is meant to limit the global rise in temperature attributed to emissions.
Countries agreed to: