Trump to leave Paris Climate Accord: Reuters

Paris Climate Accord

Sources say President Donald Trump will back out of the Paris Climate Accord. AP photo by Francois Mori.

Paris Climate Accord pullout will deepen the rift with US allies

According to a story by Reuters, President Donald Trump plans to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord.  The move is expected to further alienate US allies already wary of Trump.

Officials with the White House caution that the details are still being worked out and the decision to withdraw from the international agreement has not been finalized.

President Trump said on Twitter “I will be announcing my decision on the Paris Accord over the next few days.”

Should the US drop out of the pact, they will join Syria and Nicaragua as the world’s only non-participants in the accord.

The Reuters source, speaking on condition on anonymity, said the president was working alongside EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on the terms of the planned withdrawal.

Pruitt is an oil industry ally and climate change skeptic.  During the presidential election campaign, Trump called climate change a hoax to weaken US industry.

 

“The president will make an announcement when he’s made a final decision,” a senior official told Reuters.

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While in Europe meeting with the G7 last weekend, Trump refused to endorse the Paris Climate Accord, saying he needed more time to decide.

With European leaders already dubious of Trump, a US decision to leave the pact could further alienate America’s allies in Europe and call into question US leadership and trustworthiness on one of the world’s most important issues.

Leaving the accord could also be one more step by Trump to erase the legacy of former President Barack Obama, who helped broker the agreement and recently praised it during a trip to Europe.

Should the US back out of the deal, it could have extensive implications for the pact itself.  The Paris Accord relies on the commitment of large polluter nations, like the US, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which are blamed for increasing sea levels, droughts and more frequent and violent storms.

Behind China, the US is the second largest carbon dioxide emitter and under the agreement, the US committed to reducing its emissions by 26 to 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2025.

Environmental groups disparaged the reported decision.  The Sierra Club said withdrawing from the accord would be a “historic mistake”, while Friends of the Earth said it would make America the world’s “foremost climate villain”.

As well, international leaders reacted to the reports of the president’s plans.

European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic said in Brussels that a withdrawal by the US would be disappointing, but he added the European Union is ready to take global leadership on the issue.

“There is a much stronger expectation from our partners across the world, from Africa, Asia and China, that Europe should assume leadership in this effort and we are ready to do that,” Sefcovic added.

Gerard Araud, the French ambassador to the US said on Twitter that the Paris Climate Accord “doesn’t infringe on U.S. sovereignty”.  He added a number of major American corporations had voiced support for the deal.

According to Finish Prime Minister, Juha Sipila, it would be a major setback if the Americans left the deal, adding “we must find partners to continue, because this work must not stop.”

And should Trump follow through and leave the Paris accord, a number of members of the Republican Party will also not be pleased. According to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll, 50 per cent of Republicans agree that the US should lead the globe in the fight against climate change, while 37 per cent disagreed and 13 per cent were unsure.

As well, oil majors Shell and Exxon Mobil have supported the deal along with a number of Republican lawmakers.  Coal companies, including Cloud Peak Energy have publicly urged the president to stay in the deal as a way to help protect the industry’s mining interests overseas.

Some coal companies have asked Trump to leave the agreement to help ease regulatory pressures on domestic miners.

If the US abandons its commitment to the deal, a number of pact supporters are concerned that other countries may weaken their commitments or withdraw as well, diminishing the accord.

So far, Canada, the European Union and China have said they will honour their commitments to the agreement even if the US leaves.  According to a Reuters source, India has also indicated it will comply with the deal.

An overwhelming number of scientists say humans’ use of fossil fuels for energy is driving climate change.

 

 

 

 

 

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