After coming under intense pressure in Europe from leading politicians from the G7 and even the Pope not to pull out of the UN Paris climate deal, Trump tweeted on Saturday: “I will make my final decision on the Paris Accord next week!”
Trump’s European hosts were not that impressed by the President. “The entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying,” the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, told reporters. “There are no indications whether the United States will stay in the Paris agreement or not.”
In a veiled threat to Trump, Merkel has now said the world cannot rely on countries like the US.
Indeed, there are reports that Trump has already made up his mind to pull out of the agreement. Over the weekend the Axios news agency reported: “President Trump has privately told multiple people, including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, that he plans to leave the Paris agreement on climate change, according to three sources with direct knowledge.”
Axios outlines Trump’s options. He could just announce that he is pulling the US out of the deal, a process that will take until 2020 to complete, or he could argue that the UN climate deal needs Senate approval, something the Senate is likely to reject. Or the third option is he could just pull out of the UN climate process altogether, which would be the most hardline of the three.
Scott Pruitt, the climate denying head of the EPA is lobbying hard for the US to leave. There are no shortage of leading Republicans telling Trump to pull out either.
The former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee told the Fox and Friends programme over the weekend that Trump’s focus on changing the “climate of terrorism” is far more important than staying in the Paris agreement.
“Everybody wants a good environment. This idea that the number one threat we face — I think Donald Trump is on the right track. He’s trying to change the climate of terrorism because he knows a beheading is still worse than a sunburn,” he said.
The ignorance behind this statement is breath-taking.
But he is not alone. Writing just hours ago, Texas Senator Ted Cruz said: “Following a successful international tour and the G-7 Summit in Italy, President Trump has an opportunity to relieve our nation of the unfair and economically devastating requirements of the Paris Agreement, the United Nations climate treaty he pledged to rip up during the campaign.”
Cruz adds: “As soon as possible, President Trump should act on — and keep — his campaign promise … We simply cannot afford an agreement that puts thousands of Americans out of work, increases their energy costs and devastates our core industries.”
Cruz’s ignorance is also astounding. Coal is dying, renewables are soaring. The fracking fields are contaminating communities across North America. Global temperatures are soaring too. Every day science shouts out new alarm bells. The latest new research has some cities becoming over 7C warmer by the end of this century under the worst-case scenario for carbon emissions.
One of the world’s most iconic World Heritage sites, the Great Barrier Reef, cannot be saved in its current form due to the “extraordinary rapidity” of climate change, experts are now warning too.
As our cities fry and our waters die, if Trump does pull out of Paris he is acting like a climate criminal.
Axios notes that: “Pulling out of Paris is the biggest thing Trump could to do unravel Obama’s climate policies. It also sends a stark and combative signal to the rest of the world that working with other nations on climate change isn’t a priority to the Trump administration. And pulling out threatens to unravel the ambition of the entire deal.”
Pulling out of the Paris agreement may be music to the ears of Trump’s climate denying cronies, but the President will but cutting off his nose to spite his face.
One commenter in the Australian Financial Review also argues: “Withdrawing the United States would be a massive rebuke to almost every country Trump is trying to work with on a host of foreign policy matters and make his job harder … The bottom line is Trump would risk losing foreign partners and harm the US’ broader international objectives by abandoning Paris.”
Paul Bledsoe, a former White House adviser to President Bill Clinton and now American University environmental and energy policy adjunct professorial lecturer, adds: “It’s one thing to stick out like a sore thumb in climate denial and his anti-climate policies, it’s another thing to stick that thumb in the world’s eye.”