June 01(TNS): President Donald Trump is expected to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, two senior US officials familiar with his plans told CNN Wednesday, a major break from international partners that would isolate the United States in global efforts to curb global warming.
The decision would put the US at odds with nearly every other nation on earth. It would reflect a major reversal of the Obama administration’s efforts on climate change. And it could trigger further efforts to erode the landmark climate accord.
Trump will announce his decision in the White House Rose Garden at 3 p.m. Thursday, he tweeted. He ended his tweet with: “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
I will be announcing my decision on Paris Accord, Thursday at 3:00 P.M. The White House Rose Garden. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
6:05 AM – 1 Jun 2017
“I’m hearing from a lot of people both ways,” he said as he met with Vietnam’s prime minister in the Oval Office.
The precise mechanism for withdrawal hasn’t yet been determined, and White House officials cautioned the plans could change until Trump makes his decision public. Language for the withdrawal was still being prepared Wednesday, and will likely include specific legal conditions crafted by Trump’s administration.
In conversations over the past week, Trump has made clear he plans to fulfill his campaign promises to withdraw from the carbon reduction agreement, citing negative effects on jobs in the areas where he won a large percentage of the vote, including states in the Rust Belt and the western plains.
But Trump has changed his mind in the past on major issues, and was still speaking to opponents of withdrawal even as his team prepared an announcement. He is set to meet Wednesday afternoon with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who supports remaining in the agreement. On Tuesday, Trump met with a key voice advocating for withdrawal, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt.
Speaking Wednesday, press secretary Sean Spicer said he wasn’t sure whether Trump had made a final decision on withdrawing from the Paris agreement.
“I obviously don’t know whether he’s made it,” Spicer said during an afternoon briefing. “When the President has a decision he will make that announcement and he will make it clear what the basis of that is.”
The Paris climate agreement was established during a 2015 conference in the French capital. Every nation signed on minus two: war-torn Syria and Nicaragua, who insists the deal isn’t tough enough. In signing onto the accord, countries pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but were given wide leeway in how much they planned to reduce them by.
The President’s decision comes after months of internal debate and speculation about what Trump, who campaigned on leaving the deal, would do once he took office. Trump faced intense pressure on both sides, including from his senior advisers and family.
The White House was initially slated to make a final decision on the climate accord earlier this month, but delayed the decision until the G7 meeting in Sicily. At the summit, leaders expressed dismay at Trump’s climate stance. After the meetings concluded, the US refused to sign onto a statement of support for the Paris accord that all other G7 participants approved.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters the climate conversations were unsatisfying. The leaders of the other G7 nations — France, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom and Italy — all urged Trump to remain a part of the 2015 agreement.
Aides to Trump said he was listening with an open mind to the other leaders’ arguments about Paris, but didn’t feel obligated to heed their calls to remain within the pact. After he returned to Washington, Trump lashed out at Merkel over other matters, including NATO funding and Germany’s trade deficit.
Trump’s expected decision to withdraw was likely to raise further questions about US credibility abroad. Tillerson had argued to Trump in their discussions about Paris that scrapping the agreement could damage US negotiating power. Other major powers, including China, have signaled they will uphold their commitments to Paris regardless of Trump’s moves.
“This would be a colossal mistake,” said Nick Burns, who served as undersecretary of state during George W. Bush’s administration. “It would also devastate our international credibility. We are one of the two largest carbon emitters, with China. We are the ones who put this deal together. It is the first step to try to do something about climate change. For President Trump to take us out, it is anti-science.”