President Trump announces complete withdrawal from global climate pact

Pauline Gross
June 2, 2017

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were calling lawmakers, including House and Senate leaders, in the hours leading up to the announcement to get input on his climate decision, a Republican source said.

Here are five things that could be affected by the decision.

That fight has played out within Trump's administration.

Certain parts of the agreement are legally required, but one key factor is that it doesn't bind countries to actually meet their climate targets.

Sydney University environmental politics professor David Schlosberg told CNN that other major countries, China and India, would likely pick up the slack, leaving the U.S. politically isolated.

The Republican vowed at the time to "cancel" the Paris deal within 100 days of becoming president on January 20, part of an effort to bolster USA oil and coal industries. It will also be an opportunity to discuss foreign policy and security challenges.

"But even if the government decides to leave the Paris agreement, it's very important for U.S. society as a whole - the cities, the states, the companies, the businesses - to remain engaged", he said.

As American utilities have turned away from coal, the nation has seen a corresponding decline in carbon emissions. "The declines in US emissions in the last decade have largely happened without strong climate policies, and a withdrawal from the Paris Agreement may have minimal effect on USA emissions but give a hit to global morale". It also has an $82.7 million contract to send a U.S. Air Force satellite into space in 2018.

Already, jobs in those cleaner energies is outpacing that of coal and other big carbon-emitting fuels in the U.S. The U.S. has agreed to reduce its emissions by 2025 to 26 percent to 28 percent of 2005 levels - about 1.6 billion tons.

No matter what the US does, the Paris agreement remains in effect.

Trump's top diplomat, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, warned against leaving the Paris deal.

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As the Mayor of Pittsburgh, I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy & future. In tweets, Richard Haas, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said the decision won't have much of an effect on economic growth, but will signal that the U.S.is no longer willing to lead and "does not value worldwide order". "The sustainability train has left the station", he said this week, "Those who embrace green technologies will set the gold standard for economic leadership in the 21st century".

In talking points delivered to Trump's allies, the White House characterized the Paris agreement as a job killer that placed undue burdens on American taxpayers. But, in bucking that broad public opinion, Trump is playing to his base.

As NPR's Christopher Joyce recently reported, emissions in the USA have declined by about 12 percent since 2005. A strong majority of the state believes in the existence of global warming, and about two-thirds of the state supports the Paris agreement.

Under Trump, who once called climate change a "hoax" perpetrated by China, Washington has resisted intense pressure from its partners to commit to respecting the global accord. Peabody has lost more than 20% of its value since its stock was reissued at the beginning of April this year - a move that came after Trump struck down Obama's Clean Power Plan and a rule that prohibited coal companies from dumping waste in streams.

"And if the President wants to break the promises made to our allies enshrined in the historic Paris Agreement, we'll build and strengthen relationships around the world to protect the planet from devastating climate risks", the Climate Mayors wrote.

Both those goals are now off the table for the USA, for the time being, all because Trump made a promise to his political base, even though a majority of Republicans support the conclusions of mainstream climate science and support the deal.

Musk - who serves on three White House economic advisory councils - says he will dump Trump if the President withdraws USA support on the major climate change agreement.

Barack Obama used his authority as president to join the Paris Accord, without a vote in the Legislature. Under Obama, the USA transferred $1 billion, but Mr. Trump's budget proposal does not include payments for the rest.

Together, the "Climate Mayors" said they would work toward meeting the 1.5 celsius target set in the Paris Agreement and continue to invest in renewable energy and electric cars, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions. "It'd constitute probably the largest tax increase in the history of America".

"The entire discussion about climate was very hard, if not to say very dissatisfying", she told reporters.

Trump has several options, climate experts said.

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