Climate: the world awaits Trump's verdict

Climate: the world awaits Trump's verdict

Rita Lofano
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The White House will announce the US president's decision on Paris agreement

US president Donald Trump will announce his country’s climate policy going forward today. "I will be announcing my decision on Paris Accord, Thursday at 3:00 P.M. The White House Rose Garden. Make America Great Again," the billionaire head of state tweeted yesterday, as many in the press anticipate the USA’s withdrawal from the UN agreement negotiated by former president Barack Obama and signed in December 2015 by 195 nations. But with Trump no deal is final. The United States, the world’s second biggest polluter after China, had committed to cutting 26%-28% of its emissions by 2025. Trump’s apparent choice is between a formal withdrawal from the agreement, which would take three years and allow changes already implemented to stand, and a quicker exit from the UN treaty on which the agreement is based. The New York Times has pointed to a third option of sending the deal to the Senate for ratification, but the ultimate outcome would still be the US pulling out.

Who's with Trump, and who's not

New York’s mayor Bill De Blasio has challenged the president, saying that his city will respect its climate commitments under the agreement even if the US government will withdraw. The American business community also largely supports the Paris deal, from Exxon Mobil to Apple. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has threatened to leave White House advisory councils on which he currently serves if Trump welches on America’s commitments. In an interview, White House press secretary Sean Spicer encouraged awaiting the president’s decision. The Trump administration itself appears split. Chief strategist Steve Bannon and EPA head Scott Pruitt are against the agreement, while the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner are pushing for him to honor it, as well as US secretary of state (and former Exxon CEO) Rex Tillerson. Trump, who during his presidential campaign described global warming as something invented by the Chinese to make US manufacturing less competitive, now has to announce his decision to other G7 leaders. According to the Financial Times, leadership in the fight against climate change now passes to the European Union and China, which together can create a green alliance to accelerate Paris accord targets even without US participation. The partnership, which would lead the transition to a low emissions economy, is expected to be announced during the EU-China summit being held today and tomorrow in Brussels.