The US coal industry has welcomed Donald Trump's decision to pull the US out of the Paris climate change agreement, indicating the move will save US jobs.
On Thursday (1 June), the US president announced that he will withdraw from the treaty signed in 2015 to keep his campaign promise to put "American workers first".
Trump, said the agreement would cost American jobs and that negotiations for a new deal that would not disadvantage the US would begin.
Paul Bailey, the president of the coal lobbying organisation American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, said the standards set by the treaty, which was signed by former US President Barack Obama, were too strict.
"We support President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement," he said. "Meeting President Obama's goal would have led to more regulations, higher energy prices, and dependence on less reliable energy sources."
Robert Murray, the chief executive of Ohio-based coal mining firm Murray Energy, hailed the move as a pivotal step in Trump's environmental plans.
"In following through on his promise, President Trump is supporting America's uncompromising values, saving coal jobs, and promoting low-cost, reliable electricity for Americans and the rest of the world," he said.
Peabody Energy, the US's largest publicly traded coal company, also praised the decision, claiming the current agreement could have damaged the US economy.
"We believe that abiding by the accord, without significant changes, would have substantially impacted the US economy, increased electricity costs and required the power sector to rely on less diverse and more intermittent energy," it said.
Major US firms voice concerns
However, their reaction was in stark contrast with that of a number of major companies, which strongly criticised Trump's decision. In an open letter to the president, 25 firms, including tech giants Adobe, Apple, Google, Facebook, HPE, Intel and Microsoft, had begged Trump to leave the deal intact. "Continued US participation in the agreement benefits US businesses and the US economy," it read.
In a letter to employees, obtained by Axios, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote: "Climate change is real and we all share a responsibility to fight it. I want to reassure you that today's developments will have no impact on Apple's efforts to protect the environment."
"I know many of you share my disappointment with the White House's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. I spoke with President Trump on Tuesday and tried to persuade him to keep the US in the agreement. But it wasn't enough."
The Paris agreement commits the US and 187 other countries to keeping temperatures below 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times and "endeavour to limit" them even more, to 1.5C. A US withdrawal had been on the cards, but there was hope among those backing the deal that Trump would change his mind at the eleventh hour.
However, that did not materialise and, speaking at the White House, the US president said: "In order to fulfil my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the US will withdraw from the Paris climate accord [...] but begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the US."
The EU's commissioner for climate action and energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, said the climate accord would continue and that it would be global leaders who would fill the void left by the US departure from the deal.
France, Germany, Italy issued a joint statement saying that Paris climate accord cannot be renegotiated, but Prime Minister Theresa May declined to join the signatories, leaving a spokesperson to issue a statement instead.