— -- Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement this afternoon wasn't the first time an American president has dumped a global climate deal.
In March 2001, shortly after taking office, President George W. Bush announced the U.S. would not implement the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol -- an agreement brokered by former Vice President Al Gore and signed by former President Bill Clinton later ratified by 140 countries -- was aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions and countering global warming.
Bush’s reasons for withdrawing from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol were similar to those offered by the Trump administration on the Paris agreement. He was concerned that the deal would hurt the U.S. economy, lead to higher energy prices and invite other countries to take advantage of an agreement with little enforcement capabilities.
Bush, like Trump, was also a climate change skeptic.
“The Kyoto Treaty would affect our economy in a negative way,” Bush said during his 2000 presidential campaign. “We do not know how much our climate could or will change in the future. We do not know how fast change will occur, or even how some of our actions could impact it.”
Bush’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Kyoto Protocol received blowback from environmental groups as well as vocal criticism from then-German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
Global temperatures have risen since then, while other major powers like China, Japan and Russia also declined to accept commitments to the Protocol.
Since the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated, sea levels have risen more than 2-1/2 inches on average, and the number of weather disasters worldwide has risen by 42 percent according to the Associated Press.