US Pulling out of Climate Accord

While forecasting the state of the environment more than 80 years into the future is a notoriously inexact exercise, academics gathered by the the United Nations at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are concerned the world is headed for "extensive" species extinctions, serious crop damage and irreversible increases in sea levels even before Trump started to unpick the fight against global warming.

AFP | President Donald Trump's administration is poised to announce its withdrawal from the Paris climate deal, United States media reported on Wednesday.

While traveling overseas last week, Trump was repeatedly pressed to stay in the deal by European leaders and the Vatican. The White House declined to say when Trump planned to make his intentions known, but officials familiar with the decision say an announcement could come as early as Wednesday.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 30, 2017. Pruitt has been a vocal proponent of withdrawing from the accord.

Spicer says Trump ultimately "wants a fair deal for the American people". Friends of the Earth said the action would "sacrifice our planet to the fossil fuel industry" and make America the world's "foremost climate villain".

But there are virtually no signs he plans to remain in the agreement as it now stands.

Trump doesn't "comprehensively understand" the terms of the accord, though European leaders tried to explain the process for withdrawing to him "in clear, simple sentences" during summit meetings last week, Jean-Claude Juncker said in Berlin. The statement follows speculation that President Donald Trump may soon announce USA withdrawal from the Paris worldwide agreement of 2015 to reduce climate-warming carbon emissions.

In talks with his foreign counterparts, the President kept an open mind on climate issues, according to his aides.

That fight has played out within Trump's administration.

The accord aims to limit planetary warming in part by slashing carbon dioxide and other emissions from burning of fossil fuels. French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with Trump at length about the issue during a meeting in Brussels, and even at the Vatican, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin made his own pro-Paris pitch to Trump and his advisers.

The clashes dominated conversations in and around the summit after the first day wrapped up Friday, with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel all singling out, with varying degrees of intensity, the U.S. for getting in the way. It was the first legally binding global climate deal.

In Denmark, climate minister Lars Christian Lilleholt said that "if true, this is a really, really bad signal from the United States".

Trump promised during his 2016 campaign that he'd withdraw the United States from the deal.

Back in Washington, Trump angrily shot back: "We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation & military", he wrote on Twitter.

Trump's message appeared to preface further acrimony between himself and Merkel, the most powerful politician in Europe and, increasingly, the most vocal Trump foil on the continent.

Exiting the deal would fulfill a central campaign pledge from the president, but would be certain to anger allies that spent years negotiating the accord to reduce carbon emissions. She's worked to ensure her father hears pro-Paris viewpoints, including during a phone call with former Vice President Al Gore.

He was to meet later Wednesday with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has favored remaining in the agreement.

The official has insisted on anonymity in order to discuss the decision before the official announcement. Like Trump, the secretary of state has faced pressure from foreign diplomats to maintain USA participation in the climate agreement.

"But of course, we also hope to do this in cooperation with others", added Li. And while doing so remains controversial, the Supreme Court has declined to intervene.

"There will be bumps along the path. but with everyone's participation, the world can bring the Paris Agreement fully to life". Ted Cruz of Texas wrote in a CNN op-ed Tuesday.

"I haven't asked him", Spicer said.

  • Zachary Reyes