Trump to make “final decision” on Paris Agreement this week

Published by Niall Sargent on

May 30th, 2017

President Donald Trump is set to decide this week if the U.S. will leave the Paris Agreement, with the President “wide open” on the decision according to Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday, Mr Mattis said that the President is weighing up the potential pros and cons of the deal.

Mr Mattis said that Mr Trump was “open” and “curious” about why others nations were in the position they were in on the Paris Agreement.

“I’m quite certain the president is wide open on this issue as he takes in the pros and cons of that accord,” he added.

In December 2015, more than 190 countries adopted the Paris Agreement, the most ambitious climate change agreement in history.

In order for the agreement to take effect and enter into force, at least 55 countries representing at least 55 percent of global emissions need to formally join the Agreement.

The US is estimated to be responsible for 15 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, second only to China as the world’s main emitter.  Then President Barack Obama signed the agreement into force in the US in September 2016.

“Final Decision” Due

However, in a tweet last Saturday, Mr Trump said that he will make a “final decision” on the Paris agreement this week.

On Saturday, Axios reported that Mr Trump has privately told close confidants, including Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, that he plans to leave the landmark climate deal.

He faced pressure from world leaders to support the historic agreement during last week’s G7 meeting in Italy.

Following meetings on the issue of climate change, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that discussions over the Paris Agreement were “very unsatisfactory” leaving “no sign of whether the US will remain in the Paris accord or not”.

The heads of the other six G7 nations signed a communique at the weekend reaffirming their “strong commitment” to implement the Agreement without delay.

Changing his Tune

In 2009, Mr Trump and three of his children signed a letter to President Barack Obama published as an ad in the New York Times calling for urgent climate action.

“We support your effort to ensure meaningful and effective measures to control climate change, an immediate challenge facing the United States and the world today,” the letter declared.

“If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet.”

However, in more recent years he has continually labelled global warming as a “hoax” and pledged to “cancel” the Paris Agreement during his first 100 days in office.

Scientists have said that such a decision would make it more difficult to curb global temperature rises, with the US potentially contributing to warming of 0.3 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

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Niall Sargent

Niall is the Editor of The Green News. He is a multimedia journalist, with an MA in Investigative Journalism from City University, London