President Donald Trump - Creative Commons via Wikimedia
WASHINGTON – 31 May 2017: President Donald Trump plans to make good on his campaign vow to withdraw the United States from a global pact to fight climate change, a source briefed on the decision said on Wednesday, a move that promises to deepen a rift with U.S. allies.
White House officials cautioned that details were still being hammered out and that, although close, the decision on withdrawing from the 195-nation accord - agreed to in Paris in 2015 - was not finalized.
Trump, who has previously called global warming a hoax, did not confirm the decision in a post on Twitter, saying only, "I will be announcing my decision on the Paris Accord over the next few days."
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Trump was working out the terms of the planned withdrawal with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, an oil industry ally and climate change doubter.
Under the pact, virtually every nation voluntarily committed to combat climate change with steps aimed at curbing global emissions of "greenhouse" gases such as carbon dioxide generated from burning of fossil fuels that scientists blame for a warming planet, sea level rise, droughts and more frequent violent storms. It was the first legally binding global climate deal.
A withdrawal would put the United States in league with Syria and Nicaragua as the world's only non-participants in the Paris agreement.
Trump has said the accord would cost the U.S. economy trillions of dollars without tangible benefit. For the Republican president, a withdrawal would reflect his "America First" approach to policy, unencumbered by international obligations.
"The president will make an announcement when he’s made a final decision," one senior official said. Trump has changed his mind on large decisions before, even after previously signaling a move in the opposite direction.
Trump 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.
A U.S. decision to withdraw from the accord could further alienate American allies in Europe already wary of Trump and call into question U.S. leadership and trustworthiness on one of the world's leading issues. A pullout also would be one more step by the Republican president to erase the legacy of his predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama, who helped broker the accord and praised it during a trip to Europe this month.