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OpinionColumnistsMichael Dobie

Withdrawing from Paris climate deal wrongheaded

President Donald Trump listens as EPA Administrator Scott

President Donald Trump listens as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday, June 1, 2017, following Trump's announcement that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris climate change accord. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) Credit: AP

President Donald Trump’s decision on Thursday to withdraw the United States from the 195-nation Paris climate agreement is wrongheaded.

He said his decision was based on protecting U.S. companies, but many of the businesses Trump said he wants to protect say leaving Paris would harm them. Many, including oil giants like Exxon and Chevron, prominently urged him to stay in the pact.

Many experts don’t think former President Barack Obama’s pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at least 26 percent by 2025 will hurt U.S. businesses. And the emissions-heavy coal industry, which Trump wants to save, is in decline because of economic reasons, even as solar and wind are gaining, also for economic reasons.

Trump’s speech scarcely mentioned the environment, but protecting it is critical and pulling out of the accord only weakens global efforts to fight climate change.

Trump’s closest staff was riven about whether to remain in the agreement, and recently 22 Republican senators wrote to Trump urging him to withdraw. Their rationale: Remaining in the climate change deal would make it more difficult to unwind Obama’s Clean Power Plan, in effect arguing for a despicable daily double of more pollution and a hotter planet. The senators, a minority of GOP members, mostly represent states with a big fossil-fuel presence — but most major oil companies wanted to remain part of the agreement.

Trump should have stayed in Paris.