French President Emmanuel Macron announced Thursday that the United States will withdraw from the accord, ending decades of American dominance in the global climate fight.
“This is a big mistake, a big disappointment, for the United State,” Macron said during a joint press conference with US Vice President Mike Pence.
“I think it’s clear that there’s no longer a basis for any further participation.”
Macron made the announcement in front of world leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump, on Thursday evening at the G7 summit in Sicily.
The decision came as Trump was preparing to meet with French President François Hollande, who is seeking re-election in 2019, on Friday.
“We have been clear for months that we are not going to participate in the Paris Climate Agreement,” Trump told reporters.
“It’s not going anywhere.
We’re going to make sure we’re leading by example.
We want to make it happen.”
Trump said the decision was not “a surprise.”
“We’ve been telling the truth about the climate and the effects that it has on our economy, on our environment and the planet for many years,” Trump said.
“And I think this is a huge disappointment for all of us.”
Trump was also expected to meet the leaders of the European Union and Japan in Brussels on Friday, but the leaders did not sign off on the deal.
The US president, who campaigned on a promise to bring back coal jobs and coal jobs, was forced to withdraw from a deal he had called the “most ambitious climate deal in history.”
Trump told reporters at his golf club in Virginia on Wednesday that he was “very disappointed” with Macron’s decision.
“But we’re going forward with this agreement, and I think that’s what we need to do,” Trump continued.
“I think that it’s a great deal.”
Trump had repeatedly promised to withdraw the United Kingdom from the deal, which was signed by almost 200 nations in 2015.
The withdrawal would have seen the United Nations’ Paris climate conference take place in the UK, but it was not expected to take place until 2024.
“The withdrawal is a very, very big mistake,” Senator Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican and Senate majority leader, told reporters Wednesday.
“And I don’t think it’ll happen.”
Paul, who was a vocal opponent of the deal during his presidential campaign, said he was disappointed with Macron for withdrawing.
“He’s a very smart guy, and he knows that this is the right thing to do.
He knows that withdrawing is the correct thing to go back on,” Paul said.
Trump has previously said he does not support the Paris deal and is “not a big fan of the accord.”
“I don’t have a problem with Paris,” Trump has said.
“It’s fine, if Paris is fine, we can leave.”
Macros French announcement comes as he faces growing pressure from conservatives to back down on the climate deal, even as it faces scrutiny from Congress and the courts over Trump’s executive order that has threatened the Paris accord.
The Paris accord, which is designed to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, was signed into law by the Obama administration in December 2016.
The deal was meant to be ratified by 2020, but Trump’s order has already halted its ratification.
Macron, a conservative who campaigned against the deal and backed Trump during the presidential campaign who has previously expressed skepticism of climate change, is facing pressure from the French and German governments to back away from the agreement.
Macrons decision to pull out from the climate accord came as the two countries were in talks about the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is supposed to regulate carbon emissions.
Trump has vowed to withdraw U.N. funds from the treaty and to force all nations to cut emissions.