UPDATE 3 — 6/1, 5:57 p.m. EDT: Speaking from the White House Rose Garden Thursday, President Trump officially announced the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and renegotiate new terms of its participation “that are fair to the United States.”
As Trump made his decision, Reuters news agency reported former President Obama issued a statement saying that the current administration is turning its back on the Earth’s future by withdrawing from the global accord.
“Even as this administration joins a small handful of nations that reject the future; I’m confident that our states, cities, and businesses will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got,” Obama said.
UPDATE 2 — 6/1, 3:17 p.m. EDT: Trump administration aides indicated Thursday that the president will announce the U.S. is withdrawing from the Paris accord, a process that could take up to four years to complete.
According to a White House source, Trump faced resistance to the pending decision from many quarters, but the New York businessman could not be persuaded.
“You couldn’t talk him out of it,” the source said. “He thought it was a bad deal, and he said over and over, this is a bad deal. This hurts the economy.”
UPDATE — 1:12 p.m. EDT: An anonymous European Union official told media outlets Wednesday that EU Council President President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Brussels on Friday to reaffirm each party’s commitment to the Paris climate accord, regardless of whether the U.S. withdraws or not.
“Our climate action strategy represents an opportunity to attract investment, innovation and develop new green technologies,” European Parliament President Antonio Tajani commented in a statement. “We have got the talent and the will to make this possible in all sectors.”
Multiple media outlets issued reports Wednesday citing anonymous White House officials that say President Trump will withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement negotiated by the Obama administration in 2015.
Last week, Trump met with leaders of the G7 nations in Sicily, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged publicly that the UK, Canada, Japan, France and Italy all urged America’s president to remain in the accord, which includes nearly 200 countries with the pledge of reducing carbon emissions to quell the effects of global warming.
Elected officials in Washington seem to be evenly split on the issue, as Democrats generally oppose withdrawal and most Republicans advocate that Trump fulfill his presidential campaign promise of cancelling the agreement and ending “all payments of U.S. tax dollars to UN global warming programs.”
Disagreement also exists within the administration itself, as such prominent figures as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and White House aide Ivanka Trump all support remaining in the global pact, while EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and chief strategist Steve Bannon have urged the president to drop out.
Outside of the nation’s capitol, American corporations and environmental advocacy groups have urged Trump to continue U.S. participation in the cooperative agreement to combat climate change, including Walmart, Exxon Mobil and the Sierra Club.
I will be announcing my decision on the Paris Accord over the next few days. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2017
While tensions rise both privately and publicly over the decision, details of how Trump would actually exit the deal are still unclear. The U.S. can either withdraw from the specific agreement itself, which could take up to three years, or resign quickly from a UN climate treaty on which the Paris accord is based.
Axios reported that particular procedural moves will be worked out by a group led by Pruitt, who Trump met with on Tuesday. The president is set to meet with Paris accord advocate, Rex Tillerson, later Wednesday.
According to an AP report based on the analysis of approximately 25 climate scientists, U.S. withdrawal from the agreement could contribute to as much as an additional 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere per year, increasing the average global temperature more than half a degree Fahrenheit by the end of the century.
Total CO2 emissions in 2017 throughout the world are projected at 60 billion tons, and would increase to over 105 billion tons per year by 2100 if the U.S. pulls out of the global accord, further contributing to ocean acidification and rising sea levels due to melting ice.
[CNN] [AP] [Axios] [Politico] [Image courtesy Sarah Wasko/Media Matters]