US will withdraw from Paris climate accord

Bernie Sanders says that Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement is a disgrace.

Indeed, the most significant outcome of withdraw for the USA may be the diplomatic fallout and the loss of respect for US leadership.

Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine, whose Pacific island nation already is grappling with rising sea levels, expressed disappointment with Trump's expected move but applauded other countries for redoubling their commitments.

The countries that are still part of the accord - those that "committed themselves to that future", according to Obama - will see the unleashing of "high-tech, low-carbon investment and innovation on an unprecedented scale".

Should the USA leave the agreement completely, as expected based on numerous news reports citing White House sources, the country would go from the world leader on climate action to its most high profile climate deadbeat.

Speculation about this decision has been rampant since the election in November, as the issue was not as simple as a candidate who has publicly rejected climate science wanting out of a climate agreement.

Trump tweeted that he will be making an announcement on the agreement signed by his predecessor Barack Obama in 2016, possibly hinting that he will pull the United States out of the worldwide agreement to curb global warming by limiting greenhouse gas emissions. "We must do this with or without the support of Donald Trump and the fossil fuel industry".

Trump would have had little to lose from remaining.

The decision will put the United States in league with Syria and Nicaragua as the world's only non-participants in the Paris Climate Agreement. The Trump Administration could simply have submitted a less ambitious pledge that did little more than bank on a continuation of market and efficiency trends.

Trump is set to argue that the agreement is a bad deal for Americans.

Apple joined Facebook, Google, Microsoft and 21 other corporations in an open letter to Trump asking him to reconsider pulling out of the agreement.

Reports of the impending move by the American president triggered statements of support for the climate accord from scores of world leaders. He also said that "US will try to make a deal that's fair on climate".

The ramifications of the decision for Earth's climate are hard to define. On Wednesday, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff tweeted an image of an earlier joint open letter from over 20 top companies based in the US that argue the agreement is good for the economy.

Enlarge / A projection of United States emissions under Trump Administration policies (dashed dark line) compared to previous policies encouraging reductions. In an important way, this hinges on energy trends in China and India, and both nations have shown some encouraging signs recently.

The president can activate the treaty withdrawal process for the USA, but that process will still take four years.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday Trump was favoring an exit and was working out terms of the planned withdrawal with US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, an oil industry ally and climate change doubter.

  • Salvatore Jensen