For all the blunt talk from President Trump on Thursday that "we're getting out" of the Paris Agreement, experts note that the United States can not legally begin to withdraw from the accord on mitigating climate change until November 2019 - three years after it was ratified.
Merkel expressed regret over Washington's decision, but noted that it would not affect other parties to the agreement, and would instead make Germany, along with the nations of Europe and the world, more determined to unite their efforts in handling the climate change issue.
"China will stand by its responsibilities on climate change", Premier Li Keqiang told reporters on Thursday after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and before flying on to Brussels for meetings with European Union officials that will include how to keep the Paris agreement going without USA participation.
"Regardless of President Trump's decision, the great cities of the world, in particular the twelve American C40 cities, remain resolutely committed to doing what needs to be done to implement the Paris agreement", she said referring to 91 global cities that are have vowed to fight global warming.
In a statement, Merkel said the Paris Agreement is essential to "preserve our creation" and that Germany will abide by its responsibilities.
Ireland's former president and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson called the move "truly shocking" given the historical responsibility for global greenhouse gas emissions that the USA bears. The Paris Climate Agreement includes over 190 countries committing to reduce emissions.
"We are opposed to the Trump administration's choice to withdraw from the Paris Agreement". Of course, we're going to keep working with our suppliers to help them do more to power their businesses with clean energy. "It is unconscionable that one of the world's largest greenhouse gas emitters would simply walk away from its responsibility to people both at home and overseas, in the interest of short-term fossil fuel profits", Robinson said. Trump himself has been under vast pressure both by world leaders and also by the Pope himself to remain committed to the global warming.
When President Trump was touring the globe last week, world leaders got an opportunity to try and convince him of the critical importance of staying true to the Paris Accord.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron urged May to use whatever influence she has to urge Trump to reverse his decision.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi - who is due to visit the White House shortly - has said failing to act on climate change would be "morally criminal".
Putin also said the Paris deal was a good document, but that Moscow had not ratified it because it was waiting for technical details to be settled.
In what could turn into a global diplomatic realignment, the European Union and China held summit talks that EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker said could be a signal to the world. Elon Musk, who had already revealed that he would quit the Trump government if they went ahead with the withdrawal kept his word and left the advisory council. A "Global Trends" report prepared by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence's office, released on January 9, warned that climate change posed security risks because of extreme weather, stress on water and food, and global tensions over how to manage the changes. "Winding back the climate agenda means that the USA will be left behind in the clean energy transition as other global players, such as in Europe and China, demonstrate greater commitment to deploying low carbon and job-creating solutions to climate change", said Peter Kiernan, of the Economist Intelligence Unit.