June 2, 2017 2:25 pm
Updated: June 13, 2017 8:18 am

Donald Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. from Paris climate agreement widely panned

WATCH ABOVE: Trump's withdrawal from Paris Accord draws international condemnation

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Donald Trump‘s decision to pull the U.S. out of the landmark Paris climate agreement prompted scorn not just from global leaders, but also from scientists, big business heavyweights and other influencers across the board.

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In a critical note posted on Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of the social media behemoth said stopping climate change must remain a global goal.

READ MORE: Newspaper front pages day after Donald Trump pulls U.S. out of Paris climate agreement

“Withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement is bad for the environment, bad for the economy, and it puts our children’s future at risk,” Zuckerberg wrote.

For its part, he added, Facebook has committed to power all of its new data centers on 100 per cent renewable energy.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk quit the president’s economic advisory councils following Trump’s decision. On Wednesday, Musk said he had worked hard to convince White House officials to remain committed to the pact.

“Am departing presidential councils,” Musk tweeted Thursday.

“Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.”

More than a dozen of the largest companies operating in the U.S. banded together to urge Trump to stay in the pact. A letter on behalf of Apple, Google, Unilever and more, outlined the reasons why the U.S. must remain committed to the climate agreement, arguing it will strengthen competitiveness, create jobs, and reduce business risks.

“U.S. business is best served by a stable and practical framework facilitating an effective and balanced global response,” the letter stated. “The Paris Agreement provides such a framework.”

In reality, the U.S. risks falling behind other nations should it not take part, the letter stated.

“As other countries invest in advanced technologies and move forward with the Paris Agreement, we believe the United States can best exercise global leadership and advance U.S. interests by remaining a full partner in this vital global effort.”

Oil giant ConocoPhillips added weight to that argument, stating that as part of the pact the U.S. would have a hand in shaping the industry’s global future.

“It gives the U.S. the ability to participate in future climate discussions to safeguard its economic and environmental best interests,” ConocoPhillips spokesperson Daren Beaudo said in an email to Bloomberg.

READ MORE: Reality check: Do Trump’s reasons for leaving the Paris climate accord add up?

In a flurry of tweets and a blog post Friday, Virgin founder Richard Branson blasted Trump’s decision, calling it “sad.”

“‘America first. Earth last’, that will hurt everyone – Americans included. Climate change does not respect international borders, it imperils us all,” Branson wrote.

The backlash isn’t just a black mark for the president to deal with — scientists say the move will take a major toll on all of us.

The Earth is likely to reach more dangerous levels of warming sooner as a result of the Trump’s decision because America’s pollution contributes so much to rising temperatures, scientists said. Calculations suggest withdrawal from the Paris accord could result in emissions of up to three billion tons of additional carbon dioxide a year — enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.

On Friday, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) officials said Trump badly misunderstood their research he cited when making his case for withdrawing from the agreement.

“We certainly do not support the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris agreement,” said Erwan Monier, a lead researcher at the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, and one of the study’s authors, to Reuters.

READ MORE: Donald Trump on climate change: A ‘hoax,’ ‘mythical,’ ‘man-made’

“If we don’t do anything, we might shoot over five degrees or more and that would be catastrophic,” said John Reilly, the co-director of the program, adding that MIT’s scientists had had no contact with the White House and were not offered a chance to explain their work.

The U.S. is the second-largest emitter of carbon globally, behind China; China has stood firm on its commitment to the pact and reducing its carbon footprint.

— With files from the Associated Press and Reuters

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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