Justifying his administration's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, US President Donald Trump has said it was a "disaster" and people were happy being out of it, while his Democratic challenger Joe Biden vowed to rejoin the historic accord if voted to power. The Trump administration notified the United Nations in November last year that the US would withdraw from the climate agreement as the deal puts an "unfair economic burden" on Americans. The notification begins a one-year process of exiting the global climate change accord, culminating the day after the 2020 US election on November 3.
"I want crystal clean water and air. I want beautiful clean air. We have now the lowest carbon. If you look at our numbers right now, we are doing phenomenally. But I haven't destroyed our businesses. Our businesses aren't put out of commission," Trump said during the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio on Tuesday. "If you look at the Paris Accord, it was a disaster from our standpoint. And people are actually very happy about what's going on because our businesses are doing well," he said.
The president was responding to a question by debate moderator Chris Wallace. Over your four years, you have pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Accord. You have rolled back a number of Obama environmental records. What do you believe about the science of climate change, and what will you do in the next four years to confront it? Wallace asked Trump. The Paris accord committed the US and 187 other countries to keeping rising global temperatures below 2C above pre-industrial levels and attempting to limit them even more, to a 1.5C rise. The decision by the US – one of the world's biggest emitters of greenhouse gases – has led to condemnation from environmentalists and expressions of regret from world leaders. During the debate, Biden said he would rejoin the deal on climate change, if elected to power in the November presidential election.
"The first thing I will do, I will rejoin the Paris Accord…because with us out of it, look what's happening. It's all falling apart," Biden said, responding to a question on climate change. He, however, to the surprise of many, said the 'Green New Deal' being pushed by his party is not his plan. Trump asked Biden if he was so concerned about climate change, why he did not do it when he was a Senator and the vice president of the country.
"Why didn't he do it? For 47 years, you were vice president why didn't you get the world. China sends up real dirt into the air, Russia does, India does, they all do. We are supposed to be good and by the way, he made a couple of statements. The Green New Deal is USD 100 trillion not USD 20 billion, Trump said. Responding to Trump's remarks, Biden said, That is not my plan. The Green New Deal. Biden said if voted to power, his administration will ensure that it is able to take the federal fleet and turn it into a fleet that are electric vehicles.
We're going to put 500,000 charging stations in all of the highways that we're going to build in the future," he said. Meanwhile, on the issue of wildfires, Trump said, "As far as the fires are concerned, you need forest management in addition to everything else. The forest floors are loaded up with trees, dead trees that are years old and they're like tinder, and leaves and everything else. You drop a cigarette in there, the whole forest burns down. You've got to have forest management.