Published: Fri, June 02, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Trump pulls US from global warming accord, to allies' dismay

"China will continue to implement promises made in the Paris Agreement, to move towards the 2030 goal step by step steadfastly", Li said in a Berlin joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. And Musk is far from the only CEO to support the plan. Even fossil fuel companies such as Exxon Mobil, BP and Shell say the United States should abide by the deal.

It also aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change and calls for scaled up financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity-building framework to support action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries in line with their own national objectives.

Sure, it's a Hail Mary.

Scientists say Earth is likely to reach more unsafe levels of warming sooner if the US retreats from its pledge because America contributes so much to rising temperatures. Several of his top aides also opposed the action, including his daughter, Ivanka Trump. Scientists suggest dropping out could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide a year - enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.

Underlining that science behind climate change "is beyond doubt", Mr. Guterres said: "As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change put it: "Human influence on the climate system is clear".

According to the Paris climate deal, which is agreed on by almost 200 countries in Paris in 2015, the countries will aim to limit global warming in part by slashing carbon dioxide and other emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

Mr Trump is said to now favour an exit but has been known to change his thinking on major decisions and is thought to be meeting with aides before making his decision.

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The meeting's final declaration reflected the stalemate between the United States and the six other participating countries, who are all strongly committed to the Paris accord. That option would provide a fast track and could be done in a year, but would deny the USA a future seat at the table, locking the country out of future climate talks. The group's vice-president, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the action "is shortsighted and will be devastating to Americans in the long run".

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Wednesday in Alaska that he had "yet to read what the actual Paris Agreement is", and would have to read it before weighing in. Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and top adviser, has come to the view that the standards set out in the agreement did not work for the USA economy and the question was whether to try to change those standards within the agreement or pull out, another senior administration official said.

As for the mechanics of withdrawal, worldwide treaties have a four-year cooling off period from the time they go into effect. The choice presented before the United States is two-fold: First, either a formal withdrawal, in which case it could take three years. Senior adviser Jared Kushner generally thinks the deal is bad but would like to find a way to see if US emissions targets can be changed. The decision drew immediately backlash from climate activists and many business leaders.

Trump's chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, has discussed the possibility of changing the USA carbon reduction targets instead of pulling out of the deal completely. Beijing, however, has reaffirmed its commitment to meeting its targets under the Paris accord, recently canceling construction of about 100 coal-fired power plants and investing billions in massive wind and solar projects.

But the official said there may be "caveats in the language" that Trump uses to announce the withdrawal - leaving open the possibility that the decision isn't final.

So was opposition from environmental groups.

After taking office, Trump began the process of erasing former President Barack Obama's climate change legacy - exiting Paris is the next logical step.

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