Trump poised to pull the US out of Paris Agreement
US President Donald Trump is likely to pull out of the Paris Agreement in the coming days, according to sources close to his administration.
During his election campaign last year, Trump pledged to pull the US out of global pact to fight climate change, so his decision could bolster support amongst his most loyal followers.
He has previously described climate change as a hoax created by the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing uncompetitive.
Trump has so far not made any personal announcements about his decision, only noting on Twitter that it will be made public in the near future.
Trump had refused to endorse the landmark climate change accord at a summit of the G7 group of wealthy nations on Saturday, saying he needed more time to decide.
The decision will put the US in league with Syria and Nicaragua as the world’s only non-participants in the Paris Climate Agreement.
Earlier this year one of his former advisers said that he could leave the treaty at any point by signing an executive order to do so.
It could have sweeping implications for the deal, which relies heavily on the commitment of big polluter nations to reduce emissions of gases scientists blame for sea-level rise, droughts and more frequent violent storms.
The accord, agreed on by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015, aims to limit planetary warming in part by slashing carbon dioxide and other emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Under the pact, the US committed to reducing its emissions by 26 to 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2025.
Axios news outlet, which first reported the withdrawal, said details of the pullout are being worked out by a team that includes EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. The choice is between a formal withdrawal that could take three years or leaving the UN treaty that the accord is based on, which would be quicker but more extreme, according to the Axios report.
The decision to withdraw from the climate accord was influenced by a letter from 22 Republican US senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling for an exit, Axios reported.
Former President Barack Obama, who helped broker the accord, praised the deal during a trip to Europe this month.
The US is the world’s second-biggest carbon dioxide emitter behind China.
Supporters of the climate pact are concerned that a US exit could lead other nations to weaken their commitments or also withdraw, softening an accord that scientists have said is critical to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.
Canada, the European Union, and China have said they will honour their commitments to the pact even if the US withdraws.
At a meeting of Arctic nations in Alaska earlier this month, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed an agreement recognising the Paris Agreement, but said that Trump would not rush to make a decision on whether or not to reduce carbon emissions.