The U.S. Won’t Actually Leave the Paris Climate Deal Anytime Soon

Under the Paris rules, the United States will remain a party to the accord for nearly all of President Trump’s current term. So what comes next?

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U.S. Unemployment at 16-Year Low, but Economy’s Weak Spots Remain

Employers continue to complain about how difficult it is to hire workers. “We have 50 to 60 openings in Pennsylvania and probably close to 100 openings across the country,” said Mark Traylor, president of the Ames Companies, whose wheelbarrow factory in Harrisburg recently played host to President Trump.

“We’ve really had to change our tactics of how we source associates,” Mr. Traylor said. His company has begun working with high schools and community colleges to interest students in entry-level manufacturing and distribution jobs — paying about $15 an hour — which have been particularly hard to fill.

Skeptics argue that if the labor market were truly stretched, wages would be rising faster. Instead, year-over-year wage growth has declined since the end of last year to 2.5 percent, just a nose in front of inflation.

“That’s more of a softening than a tightening story,” said Jared Bernstein, who was chief economic adviser to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. early in the Obama administration.

The skeptics included bond traders who drove yields down on Friday, betting that even if the Fed goes ahead with a rate increase this month, it will think twice about further moves in the second half of the year.

Also troubling is the decline in overall participation in the labor force, which has trudged along below 63 percent during the recovery, compared with more than 66 percent before the recession. Some of the tiny gains that had been made were knocked off in May, showing more people were dropping out of the labor force than returning.

“That’s always ugly,” said Mr. North, the Euler Hermes economist.

Moreover, he added, those who have been out of the job market for a while or lack up-to-date skills may have less bargaining power when they re-enter. Low wages and fluctuating schedules have also sown anxiety among many Americans.

Among political leaders, responses predictably split along partisan lines.

“We’re not worried about slowing job growth,” Gary D. Cohn, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, told CNBC. He pointed out that the Labor Department’s broadest measure of unemployment, which includes part-time workers who would rather have full-time jobs and those too discouraged to search, dropped to 8.4 percent, its lowest level since 2007.


Gary Cohn on Friday’s Jobs Report

“We’re clearly bring people back in the job force,” said Gary Cohn, director of the Trump administration’s National Economic Council, on Friday’s jobs report.

By CNBC on Publish Date June 2, 2017. Photo by CNBC. Watch in Times Video »

By contrast, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, said, “May’s jobs report is a sobering wake-up call for President Trump and House Republicans, who continue to push a disastrous agenda that targets hard-working American families and endangers economic growth.”

Job recruiters continue to see a divergence in the fortunes of workers with advanced skills and those without them.

“The hiring for very specific skilled and highly skilled workers is at an all-time high right now,” said Jim Guerrera, managing director at SC Novi in Michigan, a recruiting firm specializing in the industrial and automotive sectors. “But people who don’t have a differentiated skill set are having a harder time finding a position.”

He said that while large corporations were willing to train workers, smaller firms were more wary. “Less and less people are willing to train,” Mr. Guerrera said. Younger people tended to change jobs more frequently in the past, he said, so companies do not want to make the investment only to see their new hires leave in a couple of years.

Sectors with the largest gains included health care, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and mining.

The government — once a pillar of steady, middle-class employment — shrank by 9,000 jobs, while the retail sector lost more than 6,000. During much of the recovery, retail could be depended on to churn out more jobs. But it has disappointed in 2017, with heavy losses. This week, the clothing company Michael Kors announced that it would close 100 to 125 stores in the next two years.

“Retail isn’t dying, but traditional retail is dying,” Mr. North said. “There is creeping Armageddon for brick and mortar.”

The transformation of the retail business wrought by online commerce has caught the attention of employers across sectors. “There’s an overriding concern with everybody I talk to,” said Frank Friedman, chief operating officer of the international accounting and consulting firm Deloitte. “How is technology going to disrupt — if at all — my business?”

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Trump Will Withdraw U.S. From Paris Climate Agreement

The decision was a victory for Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, and Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, who spent months quietly making their case to the president about the dangers of the agreement. Inside the West Wing, the pair overcame intense opposition from other top aides, including Gary D. Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, and his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.

Ms. Trump, in particular, fought to make sure that her father heard from people supportive of the agreement, setting up calls and meetings with world leaders, corporate executives and others. But by Thursday, aides who pushed to remain part of the agreement were disconsolate, and it was Mr. Pruitt whom the president brought up for victory remarks at the Rose Garden event.

The president’s speech was his boldest and most sweeping assertion of an “America first” foreign policy doctrine since he assumed office four months ago. He vowed to turn the country’s empathy inward, rejecting financial assistance for pollution controls in developing nations in favor of providing help to American cities struggling to hire police officers.

“It would once have been unthinkable that an international agreement could prevent the United States from conducting its own domestic affairs,” Mr. Trump said.

In Mr. Trump’s view, the Paris accord represents an attack on the sovereignty of the United States and a threat to the ability of his administration to reshape the nation’s environmental laws in ways that benefit everyday Americans.


President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement drew immediate reaction from big-city mayors, governors and Congress members.

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“At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us as a country?” Mr. Trump said. “We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore. And they won’t be.”

But business leaders like Elon Musk of Tesla, Jeffrey R. Immelt of General Electric and Lloyd C. Blankfein of Goldman Sachs said the decision would ultimately harm the economy by ceding the jobs of the future in clean energy and technology to overseas competitors.

Mr. Musk, who had agreed to be a member of a two business-related councils that Mr. Trump set up this year, wrote on Twitter that he would leave those panels.

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

Under the accord, the United States had pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 and commit up to $3 billion in aid for poorer countries by 2020.

By stepping away from the Paris agreement, the president made good on a campaign promise to “cancel” an agreement he repeatedly mocked at rallies. As president, he has moved rapidly to reverse Obama-era policies aimed at allowing the United States to meet its pollution-reduction targets as set under the agreement.

“We are getting out,” Mr. Trump said Thursday. “But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great.”


Trump Pulls Out of Climate Accord as ‘Reassertion of America’s Sovereignty’

President Trump railed against China, India and other international polluters at an address in which he announced the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. Photo by Doug Mills/The New York Times. Watch in Times Video »

In his remarks, Mr. Trump listed sectors of the United States economy that would lose revenue and jobs if the country remained part of the accord, citing a study — vigorously disputed by environmental groups — asserting that the agreement would cost 2.7 million jobs by 2025.

But he will stick to the withdrawal process laid out in the Paris agreement, which President Barack Obama joined and most of the world has already ratified. That could take nearly four years to complete, meaning a final decision would be up to the American voters in the next presidential election.

Republican lawmakers hailed Mr. Trump’s decision, calling it a necessary antidote to the overreach of Mr. Obama’s policies aimed at reducing planet-warming carbon emissions.

“I applaud President Trump and his administration for dealing yet another significant blow to the Obama administration’s assault on domestic energy production and jobs,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader.

But Mr. Trump’s call for new global negotiations about the planet’s climate drew derision from Democrats in the United States and other heads of state.

President Emmanuel Macron of France and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada each issued rebukes to Mr. Trump. “Make our planet great again,” Mr. Macron said.

The United States has emitted more planet-warming carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than any other country. Now it is walking back a promise to lower emissions.

On Twitter, Miguel Arias Cañete, the European Union’s commissioner for climate, said that “today’s announcement has galvanized us rather than weakened us, and this vacuum will be filled by new broad committed leadership.”

Mr. Obama, in a rare assertion of his political views as a former president, said, “The nations that remain in the Paris agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created.”

“Even in the absence of American leadership; even as this administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got,” Mr. Obama said.

In recent days, Mr. Trump withstood withering criticism from European counterparts who accused him of shirking America’s role as a global leader and America’s responsibility as history’s largest emitter of planet-warming greenhouse gasses.

After a fierce debate inside the administration, the White House on Thursday took on the trappings of a celebration. The Rose Garden was packed with reporters, activists and members of Mr. Trump’s administration. Scores of staff members lined the sides of the Rose Garden as a military band played soft jazz.

Supporters of the Paris agreements reacted with pent-up alarm, condemning the administration for shortsightedness about the planet and a reckless willingness to shatter longstanding diplomatic relationships.

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President Trump will withdraw the United States from the first worldwide deal to address global warming. Where do other countries stand on the agreement?

OPEN Interactive Graphic

“Removing the United States from the Paris agreement is a reckless and indefensible action,” said Al Gore, the former vice president who has become an evangelist for fighting climate change. “It undermines America’s standing in the world and threatens to damage humanity’s ability to solve the climate crisis in time.”

Corporate leaders also condemned Mr. Trump’s action.

On its website, I.B.M. reaffirmed its support for the Paris agreement and took issue with the president’s contention that it was a bad deal for American workers and the American economy.

“This agreement requires all participating countries to put forward their best efforts on climate change as determined by each country,” the company said. “I.B.M. believes that it is easier to lead outcomes by being at the table, as a participant in the agreement, rather than from outside it.”

Mr. Immelt, the chairman and chief executive of General Electric, took to Twitter to say he was “disappointed” with the decision. “Climate change is real,” he said. “Industry must now lead and not depend on government.”

But Mr. Trump was resolute.

“It is time to put Youngstown, Ohio; Detroit, Mich.; and Pittsburgh, Pa., along with many, many other locations within our great country, before Paris, France,” he said. “It is time to make America great again.”

The mayor of Pittsburgh, Bill Peduto, responded on Twitter, “I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy & future.”

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