Putin on Trump's withdrawal from Paris Accord: 'Don't worry, be happy'

PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he speaks at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 2, 2017. PlayDmitry Lovetsky/AP Photo
WATCH Trump withdraws US from Paris climate agreement

Russian President Vladimir Putin today appeared to come to the defense of President Trump over his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement

Interested in Climate Change?

Add Climate Change as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Climate Change news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
Add Interest

Putin, speaking at an economic forum in Russia, said that although he thinks it would have been better for the U.S. to try to change the agreement rather than leave it, he isn't rushing to condemn Trump for his decision.

Responding to a question from NBC’s Megyn Kelly on stage at the forum in St. Petersburg, Putin also downplayed the significance of the U.S. withdrawal from the accord given that the agreement is not binding.

He suggested that there may still be time to renegotiate the deal so that the U.S. will decide to remain.

“It’s not even come into force yet. It should come into force in 2021. So we still have time, if we work constructively we still have time,” said the Russian president who then, switching to English, quoted a popular song, “Don’t worry, be happy.”

Russia is a signatory of the Paris Agreement, and the Kremlin said this week it would remain in the climate accord.

Putin said, "I wouldn’t start to condemn President Trump" over the decision, adding that perhaps Trump thought agreements by former President Barack Obama “hadn’t been totally thought through.”

The Russian leader stressed that because the Paris Agreement is nonbinding it depends on countries' taking their own actions.

Without U.S. participation in broader efforts, he added, it will be impossible in any case for countries still in the agreement to achieve the deal's aims for combating climate change.

Putin also said he believes based on Trump’s comments that the U.S. president still wants to address the issue of climate change.

Trump announced Thursday that the U.S. would withdraw from the agreement but will immediately begin negotiating to either re-enter the deal or establish a new one.

"We are getting out, but we are starting to negotiate and we’ll see if we can make a deal that’s fair,” Trump said at the White House.

Putin’s comments stood in contrast to the reaction of European leaders, who expressed dismay and in some quarters outrage over Trump’s action.

The leaders of France, Germany and Italy issued a joint statement saying they considered the agreement cannot be renegotiated, describing it as “a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economies.”

Emmanuel Macron, France’s newly elected president, said Trump “was making a mistake,” while his country's environment minister, Nicolas Hulot, wrote in a post on Twitter that Trump’s decision will be “condemned by history as a crime against humanity.”

The secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres, in a statement called Trump’s action “a major disappointment.”

In announcing his decision, Trump appeared to try to address the expected international criticism: “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” he told reporters.

But a chorus of business leaders from some of the U.S.’ largest companies also criticized the step. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and the head of the Walt Disney Company, Bob Iger, both announced they were stepping down from a White House business council in protest.

Several U.S. cities, including Pittsburgh, reaffirmed their commitment to lowering their greenhouse gas emissions and condemned Trump.

Some countries were less strong than France, Germany and Italy in expressing their disagreement. India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, on stage with Putin in St. Petersburg, said that his country had been committed to curbing climate change before the Paris Accord and remained so.

China also refrained from directly criticizing Trump, but it’s premier, Li Keqiang, speaking in Germany on Thursday called fighting climate change an “international responsibility” and promised to press on with its commitments under the climate pact.

China and the European Union today vowed they would intensify their cooperation on climate change. In a joint news conference with Li, European Council President Donald Tusk said: "We are convinced that the decision by the U.S. to leave the Paris Agreement is a big mistake.”

> On 2 Jun 2017, at 17:42, Davis, Maia K. wrote: > > No prob, I figured it was a rush – will complete that quote as you have > Russian President Vladimir Putin today appeared to come to the defense of President Trump over his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement.

Putin, speaking at an economic forum in Russia, said that although he thinks it would have been better for the U.S. to try to change the agreement rather than leave it, he isn't rushing to condemn Trump for his decision.

Responding to a question from NBC’s Megyn Kelly on stage at the forum in St. Petersburg, Putin also downplayed the significance of the U.S. withdrawal from the accord given that the agreement is not binding.

Putin suggested that there will perhaps still be time to renegotiate the deal so that the U.S. will decide to remain.

“It’s not even come into force yet. It should come into force in 2021. So we still have time, if we work constructively we still have time,” said the Russian president who then, switching to English, quoted a popular song, “Don’t worry, be happy.”

Russia is a signatory of the Paris Agreement, and the Kremlin said this week it would remain in the climate accord.

Putin said, "I wouldn’t start to condemn President Trump" over the decision, adding that perhaps Trump thought agreements by former President Barack Obama “hadn’t been totally thought through.”

The Russian leader stressed that because the Paris Accord is nonbinding it depends on countries' taking their own actions. Without U.S. participation, he added, it will be impossible in any case for the agreement to achieve its aims for combating climate change.

Putin said that he believes based on Trump’s comments that the U.S. president still wants to address the issue of climate change.

Trump announced Thursday that the U.S. would withdraw from the agreement but will immediately begin negotiating to either re-enter the deal or establish a new one.

"We are getting out, but we are starting to negotiate and we’ll see if we can make a deal that’s fair,” Trump said at the White House.

Comments