Multiple news agencies are reporting President Donald Trump will pull the United States out of the landmark 2015 Paris Climate accord, in what would be a major reversal of Obama era policy that would please his Republican base but infuriate America’s allies.
But Trump indicated Wednesday the decision is not final, issuing a Tweet saying he would announce his decision on the accord “in the next few days”.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press quoted a White House official as saying “caveats in the language” that Trump would use to announce the withdrawal would leave open the possibility that it is not final.
The news comes days after 22 Republican senators sent a letter to Trump urging him to “make a clean break from the Paris agreement.” The letter argued that “remaining in it would subject the United States to significant litigation risk” that could complicate Trump’s effort to overturn Obama era regulations known as the Clean Power Plan.
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News of the pending U.S. pullout from the accord has prompted worried reactions among European allies. A communiqué issued at the end of last week’s summit of the Group of Seven major Western democracies noted that U.S. objections had prevented a consensus endorsing the global pact, which has been endorsed by 195 countries.
“Understanding this process,” the communiqué read, “the heads of state and of government of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom and the presidents of the European Council and of the European Commission reaffirm their strong commitment to swiftly implement the Paris Agreement.”
France’s ambassador to the United States Gerard Araud reacted Wednesday with a tweet, saying, “Major U.S. corporations have expressed their support of the Paris accord.”
Nina Hachigian, a former U.S. ambassador to ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), said pulling out of the accord would be an “utter disaster both from an environmental point of view and a foreign policy point of view.” She told VOA “If we want to be a global leader, we can’t pull away from an agreement that has that kind of unanimity, just on foreign policy alone, let alone the future of the planet.”
The Paris agreement is meant to curb the earth’s heating by cutting carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels and reduce any further negative impacts from climate change, like sea level rise, droughts and more intense weather.
Should Trump choose to pull the United States out of the agreement, it would put the country with Syria and Nicaragua as the only non-participating countries.
The decision to leave would deal a heavy blow to the agreement, as the United States is the second-largest carbon dioxide producer behind China, and the deal hinges on the willingness of large countries to reduce emissions.