3 ways Trump could dump Paris climate agreement

Elias Hubbard
June 2, 2017

Guterres also pledged to work with developing countries to mobilize resources to tackle the impact of climate change and strengthen efforts by small island states against "the existential threat" that global warming poses.

A White House official said Wednesday that there could be "caveats in the language" announcing a withdrawal, leaving open the possibility that his decision isn't final. Supporters of the deal say it's not an either-or choice.

That means the USA would remain in the agreement, at least formally, for another three-and-a-half years, ensuring the issue remains alive in the next presidential election.

He said solar power grew 50 percent previous year, with China and the United States in the lead, and in both those countries "new renewable energy jobs now outstrip those created in the oil and gas industries".

If the US pulls out of The Paris Agreement, it would become one of the largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions not included in the agreement, according to EPA data.

What is not yet clear is whether Trump plans to initiate a formal withdrawal from the Paris accord, which under the terms of the agreement could take three years, or exit the underlying United Nations climate change treaty on which the accord was based.

"Generations from now, Americans will look back at Donald Trump's decision to leave the Paris Agreement as one of the most ignorant and risky actions ever taken by any president", said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune in a statement. Framing his decision as "a reassertion of America's sovereignty", Trump said he was "elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris".

Pelosi says most Americans - regardless of political affiliation - want clear, decisive action to arrest the effects of climate change.

During Trump's overseas trip last week, European leaders pressed him to keep the U.S.in the landmark agreement.

The president could decide to stay in the treaty, but adjust the voluntary US targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Under former President Barack Obama, the USA had agreed under the accord to reduce polluting emissions by more than a quarter below 2005 levels by 2025. Even fossil fuel companies such as Exxon Mobil, BP and Shell say the United States should abide by the deal.

"Those who fail to bet on the green economy will be living in a grey future [but] those who embrace green technologies will set the gold standard for economic leadership in the twenty-first century", he said.

That option would be much quicker, taking only a year, but would be a more drastic move from the Trump administration.

Trump on Wednesday declared that abandoning the Paris climate agreement would be a victory for the American economy.

He also pointed to the opportunities that climate action can provide, such as through the creation of jobs and increased economic growth.

First reported by the AXIOS news website, citing two sources with direct knowledge of the decision, the US's withdrawal from the accord is reportedly being worked out by a team including Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt. Senior adviser Jared Kushner generally thinks the deal is bad but still would like to see if emissions targets can be changed. Like the other officials, that person was not authorized to describe the private discussions by name and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Wednesday in Alaska that he had "yet to read what the actual Paris Agreement is", and would have to read it before weighing in.

Scientists say Earth is likely to reach more risky levels of warming sooner as a result of the president's decision because America contributes so much to rising temperatures. The decision has no direct impact on major US regulations on power plants and auto rules now aimed at reducing carbon emissions, although those are now under review by Trump as well.

Calculations suggest withdrawal could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide a year - enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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