The Government has reaffirmed its commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change after US President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the landmark accord.

"It is really disappointing the US has chosen to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, but New Zealand remains absolutely committed to it," Climate Change minister Paula Bennett said this morning.

Speaking to Newstalk ZB, she said she fundamentally disagreed with Trump's main reason for exiting the accord.

"Him saying that he is putting the US first is the one that I most strongly disagree with.


"I think, actually the US needs to be reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and there's jobs in that, there's in clean energy."

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit New Zealand next week, but Bennett suggested lobbying him on the issue could be futile because "Trump has made his mind up".

Bennett said countries had sent a strong message that they would continue with the Paris agenda.

"And even from within the United States we can see some of those individual states really forward-leaning around what they're doing on renewable energy and other initiatives.

"I'd take great heart from that as well."

There was no indication that the US withdrawal would have a domino effect, she said. If anything, it had strengthened the resolve of other big players.

Trump announced this morning that the United States would pull out of the 195-nation agreement, but would begin negotiations to "re-enter either the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction".

Trump said the deal "disadvantages" the US and was causing lost jobs and lower wages.


The announcement fulfils one of Trump's top campaign pledges, but also undermines world efforts to combat global warming.

The United States is the world's second-biggest emitter and had agreed under former President Barack Obama to reduce emissions to 26 per cent to 28 per cent of 2005 levels by 2025 - about 1.6 billion tons.

It joins just two other UN member countries, Syria and Nicaragua, in rejecting the accord.

New Zealand has a goal of reducing its emissions by 11 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw said he was confident that if other countries remained united, global action on climate change would continue.

"New Zealand should join China, the European Union and other countries promising to accelerate efforts to reduce climate pollution."

The Government should not use the US withdrawal as an excuse to do nothing on climate change, he said.

New Zealand scientists today described Trump's move as a damaging but not fatal blow to the Paris Agreement.

Victoria University climate change expert James Renwick said other countries, especially those in the EU and China, were already taking the lead on the issue and committing to deeper cuts in pollution.

"Plus, the President and Washington is not the USA. Individual cities and states are doing their own thing.

"The Governor of California has already signalled that he's looking internationally for partners to push emissions reductions."