Trump Reportedly Ready To Withdraw U.S. From Paris Climate Accord
Reports indicate that President Trump is preparing to fulfill a campaign promise and withdraw the U.S. from the accord on climate change reached in Paris in 2015.
According to reports that first broke this morning, President Trump is close to deciding to pull the United States out of the climate change accord reached in Paris in December 2015:
President Trump is expected to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, three officials with knowledge of the decision said, making good on a campaign pledge but severely weakening the landmark 2015 climate change accord that committed nearly every nation to take action to curb the warming of the planet.
A senior White House official cautioned that the specific language of the president’s expected announcement was still in flux Wednesday morning. The official said the withdrawal might be accompanied by legal caveats that will shape the impact of Mr. Trump’s decision.
And Mr. Trump has proved himself willing to shift direction up until the moment of a public announcement. He is set to meet Wednesday afternoon with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has advocated that the United States remain a part of the Paris accords and could continue to lobby the president to change his mind.
Even as reports surfaced about his decision, Mr. Trump posted on Twitter that he would make his intentions known soon.
Still, faced with advisers who pressed hard on both sides of the Paris question, Mr. Trump appears to have decided that a continued United States presence in the accord would harm the economy; hinder job creation in regions like Appalachia and the West, where his most ardent supporters live; and undermine his “America First” message.
Advisers pressing him to remain in the accord could still make their case to the boss. In the past, such appeals have worked. In April, Mr. Trump was set to announce a withdrawal from the Nafta free trade agreement, but at the last minute changed his mind after intense discussions with advisers and calls from the leaders of Canada and Mexico. Last week, a senior administration official said Mr. Trump would use a speech in Brussels to make an explicit endorsement of NATO’s Article 5 mutual defense provision, which states that an attack on one NATO member is an attack on all. He didn’t.
The exit of the United States, the world’s largest economy and second-largest greenhouse gas polluter would not dissolve the 195-nation pact, which was legally ratified last year, but it could set off a cascade of events that would have profound effects on the planet. Other countries that reluctantly joined the agreement could now withdraw or soften their commitments to cutting planet-warming pollution.
“The actions of the United States are bound to have a ripple effect in other emerging economies that are just getting serious about climate change, such as India, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton, and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that produces scientific reports designed to inform global policy makers.
Once the fallout settles, he added, “it is now far more likely that we will breach the danger limit of 3.6 degrees.” That is the average atmospheric temperature increase above which a future of extreme conditions is considered irrevocable.
The aim of the Paris agreement was to lower planet-warming emissions enough to avoid that threshold.
“We will see more extreme heat, damaging storms, coastal flooding and risks to food security,” Professor Oppenheimer said. “And that’s not the kind of world we want to live in.”
Foreign policy experts said the move could damage the United States’ credibility and weaken Mr. Trump’s efforts to negotiate issues far beyond climate change, like negotiating trade deals and combating terrorism.
“From a foreign policy perspective, it’s a colossal mistake — an abdication of American leadership ” said R. Nicholas Burns, a retired career diplomat and the under secretary of state during the presidency of George W. Bush.
“The success of our foreign policy — in trade, military, any other kind of negotiation — depends on our credibility. I can’t think of anything more destructive to our credibility than this,” he added.
Other countries have vowed to continue to carry out the terms of the Paris agreement, even without the United States.
President Xi Jinping of China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas polluter, has promised that his country would move ahead with steps to curb climate change, regardless of what happens in the United States.
During a telephone call in early May with President Emmanuel Macron of France, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Mr. Xi told the newly elected French leader that China and France “should protect the achievements of global governance, including the Paris agreement.”
But the accord’s architects say the absence of the United States will inevitably weaken its chances of being enforced. For example, the United States has played a central role in pushing provisions that require robust and transparent oversight of how emissions are monitored, verified and reported.
Without the United States, there is likely to be far less pressure on major polluting countries and industries to accurately report their emissions. There have been major questions raised about the accuracy of China’s emissions reporting, in particular.
Since President Obama did not submit that Paris accord to the Senate for ratification, it is not a treaty and thus President Trump can take this step on his own without having to seek Congressional approval. The reality, of course, is that the accord most likely would never have been ratified if the former President had gone that route given the fact that it was controlled by a Republican majority and that ratification would have required at least 21 Republican Senators to vote in favor of the agreement, something that was unlikely to happen. Even under the slightly smaller Republican majority we have today it would take at least 19 Republicans to get to the two-thirds majority that would ratify a new treaty, and that simply isn’t going to happen given current GOP orthodoxy when it comes to the issue of climate change. Because of this, though, it will be relatively easy for the Trump Administration to back out of the agreement, and it’s not entirely surprising that the President is making this move since withdrawal from the Paris accord was a major part of his campaign platform virtually from the beginning. Indeed, outside of business interests the opposition to the accord among Republicans appears to be largely universal. If nothing else, taking this action now would allow the Administration to point to something other than just the nomination of Justice Gorsuch in support of their argument that the early days of the Trump Presidency has lived up to the promise made during the campaign.
Additionally, as I noted at the time the deal with reached, while the accord received near universal acclaim around the world the details of the agreement made clear that it was far more aspirational than concrete in terms of taking any real steps that would have an impact on the pace of either carbon emissions or climate change over the coming decades. For example, many of the provisions of the agreement are expressed in terms of non-binding goals that the signatories to the agreement agreed to reach at various stages in an effort to curb carbon and other emissions thought to contribute to the changing climate that scientists say is at least to some degree due to human action. Missing from the agreement is any real enforcement mechanism that could be imposed against nations that fail to reach the goals of the agreement, or against those who deliberately violate it even while claiming to abide by it. Given that, the Paris agreement was always far less than met the eye and it’s unclear that it will have any measurable impact on emissions or the environment even if it does survive disavowal by the United States, which is by no means guaranteed.
On the international stage, this is likely to be viewed negatively and could have a negative impact on how the United States is perceived around the world, especially in Europe and other parts of the developed world where support for the agreement is high even among more conservative political forces. Additionally,, an American withdrawal could open the door for other nations, including many developing nations that are increasingly becoming the source for greater emissions as they attempt to bring their economies into the modern world, to withdraw from the agreement or at least fail to honor it notwithstanding the fact that they remain signatories to it. If that becomes a widespread phenomenon, then the entire structure of the agreement would fall apart and nations would be free to follow their own path on the issues of carbon emissions and climate change. What impact that could have on the actual mechanisms of climate change, though, is unclear and hard to predict.
Here’s something scary: according to some insiders, Rick Perry was one of those arguing to not withdraw from the agreement. You read that right: Ricky Perry is the voice of reason in this Administration.
Well, Trump is cornered here. He has to fulfill *some* campaign promise at some point, and this is one he has control over.
Unfortunately, it’s the worst promise to fulfill, from the viewpoint of all life on Earth.
Trump is determined to hand over the Pax Americana and shove us back in the corner. It doesn’t really matter that it’s more aspirational then functional, at this point it signals to the world that America has decided to take its toys and go home in a sulk. Playground games don’t stop with the little whiny kid storms off with the ball – a new game starts without them immediately and the lack of a ball isn’t necessarily an impediment. The returning child may be shocked to discover his ball – and him- are no longer needed or wanted for fun to happen. The next President is going to have a hell of a time getting us back into any sort of leadership position we forfeit now because of this idiot.
Trump put Baby in the corner, folks. We all know how that turned out.
The effect of the US withdrawal will mostly be to lose a voice in favour of more market based mechanisms and a more innovation and technological-market dynamic based approach, and end up with more influence of the Command & Control PoV.
A net negative and a pointless own-goal.
But then your man Trump does rather seem to be just absolutely brilliant in the scoring unforced own-goal department.
And Trump does another good thing. Not that withdrawing from the accord is good on the merits of climate-change denialism, but reminding people that it’s wrong and dangerous to circumvent the democratic process for this kind of policy-making is a very positive accomplishment.
I know when you assume the bureaucratic “Deep State” will always advance your interests, it can be very seductive. Assuming undemocratic government power will always be on your side, however, is pretty foolish.
Twenty to thirty years from now, when the tariffs expire, we’ll finally have access to cheap foreign solar panels for our tiny houses. Perspective, people.
Trump wants the nuclear option to be employed every single time in both houses of Congress, in order to get his way subverting how the Constitution proscribes legislative behavior. He doesn’t *understand* the process, let alone give a damn about it being done right.
The black market, James. Or dark web or whatever edgy thing we’re calling it now. We’re all gonna end up buying a ton of stuff off it at this rate. Cuba’s got a shot of setting up a good gig that Floridans can run for the rest of the country. Only 90 miles!!
So you defended the move as some kind of messaging strategy. Now defend it on the merits.
If you can.
Bye-bye US, hello China as ruler of the world.
To give you an idea, I spent Memorial Day weekend at the International Space Development Conference in St. Louis. Know who was there by the dozens? People from India and China. Who was presenting the most advanced technical papers on Solar Power Satellites? Chinese and Japanese participants.
Trump is so asinine that he doesn’t realize it’s not his game to play. The rest of the world will go on, no matter what the US says. And what he’s doing with this tantrum of misbegotten self-pity is simply writing the US out of the equation. When countries in the world want new, energy-sipping technology, they’ll go elsewhere. To China. And Japan. And when the US tries to sell its coal and energy-hogging stuff elsewhere, do you think that we’ll find a market? Ha.
Get used to being a nation of backsville hicks with guns and bombs and nothing to offer the rest of the world, because that is what we’re dwindling into.
Republicans (and Trump) have gone from complaining about “leading from behind” to not leading at all.
You think Trump has spent one second thinking about democracy? The guy is an autocrat by nature, you have to admit.
Speaking of which, do you all recall Elizabeth Spier, who worked for Jared Kushner at the NY Observer and who wrote for the WaPo a withering article about him recently? On her Twitter feed today she recounts a story of of how she challenged Kushner on his father-in-law’s birther campaign against Obama. She said Kushner rolled his eyes and replied, “He doesn’t really believe it, Elizabeth. He just knows Republicans are stupid and they’ll buy it.”
I’ve been mulling over writing a paper on how the country is more divided now than at any time since the Civil War. The two sides are completely apart in worldview that it seems reconcilable. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if California and the west coast secede to form a new global trading and tech hub in the same capacity as Singapore.
Obama spoke from the heart when he said that many in the heartland cling to guns and religion as a substitute for losing influence, income, and their way of life. There’s nothing wrong with that statement. As a coastal globalized elite, I also don’t have a problem with labeling them as deplorables, especially if they blame the government or the left for their woes instead of taking responsibility (messaging may need a bit of tuning though). Mitt Romney is also right when he labeled 47% as takers, only the takers are now hardcore Trump supporters, rather than latte liberals. To borrow a phrase from the Tea Party, “Get a job, you leechers!”
It was a joke, making fun of Trump’s protectionism as well as lampooning the idea that the US can withdraw from the Paris agreement and still be a leader in renewable energy with commitment.
@Rick Zhang: Maybe the Northeast can split off as well.
Where in the world did this spiteful, chip-on-a-shoulder hatred of education and government that we see so prevalent on the Right (and far left) come from? I can only assume it was started by dummies who marinated their brains in Ayn Rand.
Meh, I was joking too. Then again, I’ve been off all day since *some people* decided to post covefefe references before I was caffeinated properly. I blame them for my lack of productivity and general thought today – you know who you are 🙂
@CSK: He doesn’t really believe it, Elizabeth. He just knows Republicans are stupid and they’ll buy it.”
But Obama was the most racially divisive president ever, right? Or so says the Republican leadership. I don’t know which is worse, believing the birther crap or using it for political gain. Either way, Trump should rot in hell for pushing that racist garbage.
Fine, let him. The rest of the world will go on its merry way. India cancelled a huge coal project in favor of solar energy just a couple of weeks ago:
Our disinclination to pay attention to the world is rapidly catching up with us.
@@Rick Zhang @grumpy realist :
Can’t we just give the South and Midwest back? It’s what they want anyways. I’m sure Canada would be willing to give us a couple of miles at the border if we give them preferential trade deals and promises of a wall to keep illegal immigrants from Mississippi out. As time goes by, we’d get back Wisconsin and Michigan. I’m willing to bet North Dakota and Montana would also be willing to cede some land for a price once their economy tanks.
We don’t need to split off two coastal nations – we need to create one southern nation that just reaches up really high mid-continent.
@KM: Hey, don’t leave South Texas out!
Well who doesn’t think it’s a good thing when you can unilaterally cause your allies to consider America to be an unreliable partner in trade, in treaties, in honoring agreements?
What is this even supposed to mean? Don’t we already know that looking for Trump or the GOP to respect democratic norms is a fools game?
Bring New Mexico and swing part of of Arizona from the start, then its a deal. Otherwise, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a few years until Mexico starts taking back its deserts for us to work out a treaty with them for you. We won’t forget our brothers and sisters behind enemy lines but there’s only so much one can do from the get-go.
Of course he is withdrawing from the pact.
Climate change benefits Russia a great deal. Why do you think Russia and the Saudis are the only two countries who have not signed onto the agreement? (
USTrumpistan makes three.)
The use of fossil fuels benefits their economy bigly, and melting ice at the polar cap helps them yugggely. Cheeto-Jebus fulfills a campaign pledge (his first one?) and he helps Putin who has compromising financial information about Dumb Don.
I don’t think those people actually ever read Rand; her books are very long, with small print, and on the turgid side, stylistically speaking. As my late and extremely learned father once said, “She doesn’t write novels; she writes tracts.”
The “deplorables” have always been around. A lot of them simply never bothered to vote till Palin brought them out of the woodwork with her God ‘n’ guns schtick. She bailed on them to become a reality show starlet–and Trump came roaring along to fill the slack.
Let us hope so.
Right, as one of my educated globalist friends says, we tried to do the best for them with retraining programs and universal health care/education, but they spit in our faces. So fine, then we ignored them. Now they are a political force and an existential threat to our way of life, so the stakes are higher than ever.
Who has Trump by the balls? Putin or Elon Musk?
*Attributed to Nixon henchman Charles Colson (rip).
Trump’s hardcore base equates education, speaking and writing in grammatically correct fashion, possessing cultivated tastes in art, literature, food, music, etc., and general personal refinement (a broad category that encompasses not punching reporters and screeching obscenities at those with whom you may disagree), and not carrying a gun to your local grocery store in case you need to shoot a bunch of bad guys as the hallmarks of a globalist commie America-hater.
I cold go back further and blame a a lot of this on Pat Buchanan and his “peasants with pitchforks” speech in 1992, the gist of which was, “if you’re an illiterate oaf with the IQ of a turnip, you’re a real American.”
And the so-called conservatives who ripped into Obama for “leading from behind” will praise Trump for not leading at all.
…the bureaucratic “Deep State” will always advance your interests,..
“Deep State” you know, like Trump’s son-in-law.
‘‘He doesn’t really believe it, Elizabeth. He just knows Republicans are stupid and they’ll buy it’’
I believe only Syria and Nicaragua are the two major countries not to sign. Russia and Saudi Arabia are signatories.
Paris Climate Treaty:
I have not had time to extensively study the documents. I would like to check the fine print. And also the large print.
Here are some thoughts:
What exactly is it going to do ?How will it affect the working people ? Will this cause higher utility bills ?
Gas consumption has been decreasing in this country. The air is cleaner. People have spent their own time and money upgrading their homes to use less power: insulation, caulking, windows, energy saving appliances, installing solar panels, tankless water heaters, efficient light bulbs, smart thermostats, and many other energy saving things. The American people have done their part. Great progress has been made. Government and businesses need to get with it and fix up their buildings. The last thing we need are more regulations, controls, taxes, fees, and other.
There needs to be more research, development, testing, experimenting, and prototypes. Last year it was announced that an ion engine was successfully tested. Cars are on the road using alternative engine technology and fuels. Jaguar has an amazing turbine engine prototype car(turbine cars were tried in the ‘60’s, now is the time to try again). Cars are using after market hydrogen cells to use less gas. And the incredible gas vapor engine that gets 100 miles per gallon and more ! (see fuel efficient vehicles org – not an advertisement)
What to do about jet aircraft and heavy equipment (dump trucks, 18 wheelers, buses, bulldozers, tractors) is a big challenge. Maybe some form of bio-fuel. It might be a while before they come up with an electric jetliner.
Tapping into other sources such as the earth’s magnetic field and thermal vents are possibilities.
There needs to be more ingenuity, research, and inventiveness. Think of the cell phones just a few years ago and what they are now. And if we can put a man on the moon, we can come up with energy alternatives.
In conclusion, there needs to be more ingenuity, research, and inventiveness. That is what has helped this country become great.
“drive 55” Boy, I remember that. It went over like a lead balloon. It ‘s more like “drive 55 and get passed like you’re standing still “
I read that China is also backing off on coal projects. When Trump talked about coal jobs, I thought it was a good plan for 1930. Appalachia and the Rust Belt needs 2030 solutions. Extractive industries always boom and bust, but while they are booming they invest in political clout. The guys who got rich in 1930 have more money than the ones who will build the industries of the future.
@Daryl’s other brother Darryl:
1. The only two countries who didn’t sign up for the Paris accords are Syria and Nicaragua. Nicaragua because accords were too conservative, and Syria because it was otherwise occupied.
2. To argue that the only reason why a republican would do something stupid is Russia is a very, very,very bad look.
@Tyrell: and your point is …what?
@Bob@Youngstown: Thanks Bob. Probably that this is a challenge that could be handled like the moon mission was. Get everyone excited and focused. It can be a positive thing – already is. Many people have lower utility bills now.
Actually, I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll get some solar power satellites up within a decade. Probably not launched or owned by the US, but those are the breaks. And it will be very interesting to see what happens if Elon Musk and the other billionaires can actually get launch costs down.
I gotta learn Chinese….very frustrating for me at the conference!
Oh, no. Does that mean they will have to cancel the Stanley Cup playoffs??
Yeah, but it was a style at the time. Aldous Huxley and George Orwell used the same devices in their books and I’m sure I could think of others if I applied myself. The difference with Rand was that she was more prolific in the particular style and for a longer time. And her novels made less sense,of course.
I just want to go on record: I’m all in on AGW. Its real. How else could one explain Hillary’s loss?
Trump has learned nothing from the decline of the U.S. auto industry. A generation from now (unless good judgment comes back into fashion in Washington), we will find ourselves (metaphorically speaking) trying to sell Pontiacs and Chryslers to a market that demands Toyotas and Hondas.
@James Pearce: I know some people who have built their own panels. It was not too difficult, but it will take a while for them to pay off. And some developments don’t allow them.
You are right, and I was wrong.
Not the only reason. There is ideology, and there is Russia. Given that it is Trump there is a racist basis for this as well…climate change will disproportionately affect people of color) Russia obviously drives a great deal of what this administration does. e.g. returning their properties to them. There is no economic or diplomatic reason to exit the accord. Ultimately it will come down to who speaks to Dumb Don last, Putin and Bannon or Tillerson and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.