Donald Trump will pull out of 2015 Paris climate agreement

U.S. President Donald Trump will reportedly follow through on a campaign pledge to pull the United States out of a global pact to fight climate change, a move that should rally his support base at home while deepening a rift with U.S. allies.

Upon returning from his first international trip, U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to pull out of the 2015 Paris climate accord.

Trump later said on Twitter that he would make an official announcement about his decision over the next few days.

The report was first reported by Axios news and later confirmed by Reuters, Fox and the Associated Press. According to the report, which cited two anonymous sources, details on the withdrawal are still being worked on.

The Associated Press later cited an anonymous White House official who said that there may be “caveats in language” that Trump uses to make the announcement, which leaves open the possibility that the decision isn’t final.

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In response to the news, the president of the American arm of environmental agency Friends of the Earth, Erich Pica, released a statement criticizing Trump for his environmental policy.

“Donald Trump is on a mission to sacrifice our planet to the fossil fuel industry. By pulling out of the Paris Agreement, Trump will make the United States the world’s foremost climate villain. The rest of the world must move forward aggressively without the world’s leading historical contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. Friends of the Earth U.S. calls on all nations to assert heavy economic and diplomatic pressure to compel the Trump Administration to take serious climate action to protect people and the planet,” said Pica in a statement.

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Trump attended the G7 meeting for the first time over the weekend, and remained undecided on upholding the agreement for the duration of his time there. The Summit concluded on May 27 without those in attendance having arrived at a resolution.

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The Paris climate accord was ratified by nearly 200 countries in 2015, and aims to limit global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. Under former President Obama, the United States committed to reducing its emissions by 26 to 28 per cent from 2005 levels by 2025.

Obama went on to praise the Paris climate accord during his trip to Europe earlier this month.

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Leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron said publicly on Saturday that they’d hoped for a different outcome from the climate change debate. He then tweeted that he would make an announcement about his decision this week.

However, one day after leaving the trip, it was revealed by White House sources, including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, that Trump still intended to leave the agreement. Axios reports that this is the most significant move Trump has made to unravel the climate change legacy of the Obama administration.

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The pullout is reportedly being worked on by a small team who faces a decision between a formal withdrawal that could take almost three years, or leaving the UN treaty that the accord was based on, which would take less time but would be more extreme.

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The report also states that a letter from 22 Republican U.S. senators influenced the decision. The United States is currently the world’s second-largest carbon-dioxide emitter, behind China. This decision will make the U.S. one of three UN countries, along with Syria and Nicaragua, to not ratify this agreement.

Canada, the European Union and China have said they will honour their commitments to the pact even if the United States withdraws. World leaders and other public figures have begun reacting to the news of the United States’ departure from the deal.

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The Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila said Wednesday that it would be a significant setback if the United States withdraws from the agreement.

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“If this is true, it is a big setback. Then, we must find partners to continue, because this work must not stop,” Sipila said. Climate change was a priority for Finland in the Arctic Council as well as the European Union, he said.

In addition, a French envoy added that while the Paris Climate change deal is a political agreement, it doesn’t infringe on the sovereignty of the United States, and that all commitments are voluntary.

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“The Paris accord is a political agreement. It doesn’t infringe on U.S. sovereignty. National commitments are voluntary and may be amended,” Ambassador Gerard Araud said in a tweet.

He added that major American corporations had expressed their support for the deal.

More to come.

— With files from Reuters

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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