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Trump to Withdraw From Global Climate Change Agreement

ANDREW MORAN Economics Correspondent

In a major development which would entirely change the direction of the bitter debate over climate change, multiple news agencies are reporting that President Donald Trump will pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Change Accord.  The global treaty has been heralded by environmental activists as the first of many agreements necessary to combat growing worldwide carbon emissions.

A White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, did say on Wednesday that there may be qualifications to the nation’s withdrawal, which could mean Trump’s decision is not final.

Reports suggest that the Trump administration is considering two options: a formal three-year withdrawal, or exiting the United Nations treaty on which the accord is based – this would take little time.

The president tweeted on Wednesday that he will make an announcement sometime this week:

I will be announcing my decision on the Paris Accord over the next few days. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

Should the president start to withdraw from the global pact, it could amplify a rift with U.S. allies.

In 2015, close to 200 nations and the European Union (UN) agreed to voluntarily slash greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change. As part of the arrangement, the U.S. pledged to decrease its emissions by as much as 28% by 2025. Russia, Nicaragua, and Syria rejected the Paris Agreement.

President Trump repeatedly lamented the agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on the campaign trail. However, there is still a possibility that he may change his mind as he consults with inside and outside advisors just prior to his announcement. This is something that has been iterated by Gary Cohn, chief White House economic adviser, who told reporters that Trump’s climate change views were “evolving” after meeting with European leaders.

Within Trump’s closest circle, those who are reportedly in favor of staying include Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, along with Senior Adviser (and son-in-law) Jared Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump. Those who want to exit include White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and EPA head Scott Pruitt.

Many U.S. corporations have expressed their support of the deal, including Apple, Exxon Mobil, Google, Shell, and Wal-Mart.

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and twenty-one other Republicans sent the president a letter urging him to pull out of the climate pact. At the same time, forty Democratic senators penned a letter to Trump advising him to remain, arguing that an exit could hurt the nation’s credibility on the global stage.

According to the Associated Press, the EU and China will reaffirm their support of the climate change deal in Brussels on Friday. It is also being reported that India will reaffirm its commitment. Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna confirmed that Ottawa would keep “marching on.”

Trump was hit by multiple international officials when the news broke. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tweeted:

Climate change is undeniable. Climate change is unstoppable. Climate solutions provide opportunities that are unmatchable.

When the president was overseas last week, several European leaders urged Trump to keep the U.S. in the agreement. French President Emmanuel Macron and The Pope’s Secretary of State Pietro Parolin explained the importance of the Paris Agreement to the president and his advisers.

The U.S. is presently the second-largest emitter of carbon in the world. Without any significant changes in federal government environmental policy, the U.S. has recently slashed its CO2 emissions. Using data from the EPA, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) discovered that U.S. CO2 emissions have fallen to their lowest levels since 1992. Mark J. Perry, a scholar at AEI and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan, attributes this trend to fracking.

In the end, if Trump’s apparent decision to pull out of the Paris Accord holds, it will signal a new day in the debate over climate change – and a dark day for environmental activists who have spent the entire 21st century arguing of its catastrophic consequences.

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