Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has promised to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement and end regulations on the energy industry if elected. Speaking to supporters at a rally at the Walliston Basin Petroleum Conference in North Dakota, the billionaire and former reality TV star outlined his plans for America to accomplish "compete energy independence," which he said would be a "strategic economic and foreign policy goal of the United States" if he were elected president.
North Dakota is the second-largest oil-producing state in the U.S. "America has 1.5 times as much oil as the combined proven resources of all OPEC countries," he claimed.
"Think of that: We have more natural gas than Russia, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia combined. We have three times more coal than Russia. Our total untapped oil and gas reserves on federal lands equal an estimated $50 trillion," he continued, as the crowd roared in approval.
Trump criticized President Obama for his imposition of "costly regulation" on energy producers in Dakota and across the United States, and said the U.S. would no longer contribute to U.N. efforts to efforts to curtail climate change.
"We're going to cancel the Paris climate agreement and stop", he said, "stop all payments of the United States' tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs." He also promised to revive the controversial Keystone XL pipeline by inviting TransCanada to reapply to build the structure from Canada to the United States, reversing a decision by the Obama administration to block the project. The audience of oil executives reacted rapturously.
The Paris Agreement on climate change is the first ever legally binding climate deal, agreed to by 195 countries in December 2015. It sets out a global plan to limit global warming below two degrees and is due to come into force in 2020. Once the accord is ratified by 55 countries responsible for 55 percent of emissions, it will go into full effect, making it difficult for countries to withdraw – however, if the deal has not be ratified by January 2017, a new president could withdraw immediately. Trump has formerly gone on record saying he believes global warming is a hoax and that his administration would revive the U.S. coal industry.
His comments came as it emerged he had officially secured the necessary 1,237 Republican delegates to receive the party's nomination for president at its convention this summer.
By Lara Whyte