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We'll keep going: NZ on Paris Agreement

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/06/2017 Karen Sweeney
Paula Bennett © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Paula Bennett

The United States will withdraw immediately from the Paris Climate Agreement but President Donald Trump says re-negotiations will begin shortly to see if there's a "better deal" for the US.

"As someone who cares deeply about our environment, I cannot in good conscience support a deal which punishes the United States," he said at the White House on Friday morning (NZT), calling it "unfair at the highest level".

New Zealand will remain committed to the agreement, signed by almost 200 countries and so far ratified by 145, Climate Issues Minister Paula Bennett has assured.

"It is really disappointing the US has chosen to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, but New Zealand remains absolutely committed to it," she said.

"The clear message from around the world is the global community will press ahead with the Paris agenda."

France, Italy and Germany have already released a statement saying they "firmly believe" the agreement cannot be negotiated, Reuters is reporting.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw said the US was abdicating its moral leadership on climate change.

There was too much at stake for new Zealand to do nothing, he said.

"As long as the rest of the world stands united, I am confident that global action on climate change will continue over the next four years," he said.

The US withdrawal isn't immediate, but instead Mr Trump's announcement triggers a process that will continue until November 2020, according to CNN.

That process includes stopping implementation of carbon reduction targets and no longer contributing to the United Nations' Climate Fund.

But Victoria University environmental science professor James Renwick said individual cities and states within the country were still taking steps to tackle climate change.

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry responded to the decision by pointing out that only two countries had not signed the agreement.

Nicaragua didn't believe it went far enough while Syria was embroiled in civil war.

"What's our excuse?" he said.

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