It's a bitter blow to stalwart European partners who launched an aggressive campaign to convince Trump that American leadership is central to combating climate change.
"China has been making more efforts to promote green financing and cut coal consumption and emissions due to China's own requirements, not in order to be a more influential global climate leader", said Xu Zhaoyuan of the Development Research Center, a Chinese cabinet think tank. China Daily denounced the "single action of just one man" that can change the course of the world, drawing a direct parallel with former president George W. Bush and decisions taken in the name of the war on terror. China is the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter, followed by the US. The Fun Size movie star said every Republican in Congress needs to put an end to Trump's decision.
"I made the U.K.'s position clear to President Trump last week at the G-7 meeting, as did the other G-7 leaders, and I made the position clear to President Trump last night".
Mark Ruffalo stated that by this decision of Trump, people will lose their jobs and lives, and the decision is a refusal to provide economic opportunities. It's unclear why the USA would need to start such negotiations given that the climate agreement gave each country the ability to set its own targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
"Tillerson's credibility issues right now are far broader than just the Paris accord", said Cecile Shea, a retired US diplomat, now of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
As press aides began to wrap up the background briefing, Yahoo News' Hunter Walker yelled several questions at the official, asking about Trump's personal views on climate change.
Under former President Barack Obama, the US had agreed under the accord to reduce polluting emissions by more than a quarter below 2005 levels by 2025.
Tillerson called Trump's action a "policy decision".
GOP lawmakers said much of the same in the wake of Trump's move.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Friday the fight against climate change is "unstoppable" and nations should stick to the landmark Paris accord. "Nothing can or will stop us from doing that", she added.
In a rare statement on his successor's policies, Obama said: "Even in the absence of American leadership; even as this administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future, I'm confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we've got".
So while this decision is an egregious self-inflicted wound, as Yogi Berra liked to say, it ain't over till it's over.
The Paris deal was put in place previous year for countries to work together to combat global warming, but critics of the agreement have argued that it will hamper America's economy.
Tillerson said repeatedly in his confirmation hearing in January that he accepted climate change is real and believed it was important for America to "have a seat at the table" in global discussions on the matter.