Its official: Trump to withdraw US from Paris Agreement on climate change

The United States will now join two other countries–Syria and Nicaragua in rejecting the historic Paris Agreement to address global warming.

After much speculation and reports of friction among White House staffers, Axios was the first to report yesterday that Donald Trump had made the decision to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement, citing two sources “with direct knowledge of the decision.”

Details on exactly how this would be done were, at the time of reporting, still being “worked out by a small team including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt”. Despite the lack of official confirmation, many news outlets reported the news of Trump’s imminent decision.

The Telegraph and The Independent were the first out the blocks, with the latter saying a US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement would be a “major blow” to the landmark deal.

The Huffington Post led with the fact that the only other two countries withholding their support of the Paris Agreement are Nicaragua and Syria, a point echoed by Politico“, The Hill and BBC News.

If Trump does decide to withdraw, the key question is how he will do it, says the BBC’s environment correspondent, Matt McGrath.

With the president tweeting that he would announce his decision “over the next few days”, he must now decide whether to begin the three-year withdrawal process stipulated by the Paris Agreement or to take the “more extreme” but possibly faster route of ditching the underlying United Nations treaty, says McGrath. But with Trump due to meet Secretary of State Rex Tillerson yesterday afternoon, who could still lobby the president to change his mind, things may remain in flux until the last minute, says the New York Times.

The piece quotes Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton, who says that a US departure would make it “far more likely that we will breach the danger limit” of 2C warming above preindustrial levels.

The Financial Times and BBC News are reporting this morning that Trump has scheduled his announcement on whether the US will withdraw from the Paris climate accord for Thursday afternoon at 8pm BST. A separate FT piece carries the warnings of US manufacturing and energy companies that Trump’s withdrawal could hit jobs and investment.

The Washington Post looks at what US states and cities are doing about climate change, and their potential to fill in if the Trump administration drops out.

Finally this morning, Reuters is reporting British foreign secretary Boris Johnson’s comments to Sky News that the UK will “continue to lobby the U.S. at all levels to continue to take climate change extremely seriously.”

Johnson would not be drawn on what his response would be if President Donald Trump pulls out of the Paris accord, however.

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