Anticipation is building as the president of the US, Mr. Donald Trump, moves closer to his scheduled announcement concerning his decision on the Paris Climate Agreement. Global leaders, big business, and environmentalists are all watching to see whether he will withdraw from the landmark deal in an announcement at the White House later today.
Two administration officials have told NBC News that Mr. Trump is leaning towards pulling out of the Obama era accord. Mr. Trump, who once referred to climate change as a “hoax”, vowed to pull out of the agreement as a candidate, describing it as a “jobskiller”.
The non-binding agreement asks the close to 200 participating countries to reduce toxic emissions. Currently, it appears the issue is even dividing the right wing, with daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner urging the president to stay part of the deal.
Nationalist – such as Stephen K. Bannon – on the other hand, are urging the president to leave and 22 republican senators wrote to the president asking him to withdraw, claiming the deal places too many regulations on the energy sector and hurts the American economy.
But supporters of the Paris deal stress its’ critical importance in relation to environmental protection and national security. Furthermore, 33 big American companies have pressed the president to remain part of the deal, arguing the agreement supports international relations and trade. The only other major countries not part of the deal; Syria and Nicaragua.
Tesla CEO and White House Advisor Elon Musk has reacted to the news in a series of tweets, sharing that he and his team have done all they can in advising the Trump administration to remain in the Paris agreement. Asked what he would do if the president pulled out of the accord, Mr. Musk said he would have no choice but to leave his advisory roles.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has also issued a warning to the President concerning exiting the Paris agreement, saying it was a decision that would affect the whole world and that any withdrawal would take years to process.
Countries cannot withdraw until three years after the Paris Agreement went into effect. As it entered into force in early November of 2016, the US would have to stay with it until November 2019. After that, the rules mandate a one-year notice period, which would mean a withdrawal in late 2020, which is after the next presidential election.
Another possible route to exit the Paris Climate Agreement is exiting the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). As any country that leaves the UNFCCC “shall be considered as also having withdrawn from this Agreement,”. The US could leave the UNFCCC with one year’s notice, which would result in them leaving the agreement without having to wait until November 2020.
Trump’s last option, if he decided to exit the Paris agreement, is to remain in the agreement and simply fail to meet any of its terms. Certain parts of the agreement are legally required, but one key factor is that it does not bind participants to actually meet their climate targets.
In a move that created a lot os suspension, Trump announced on Twitter that he would make the announcement at 3:00 p.m. ET in the White House Rose Garden. So up until then it seems all we can do is speculate if – and to what extend – he will follow up on his campaign promise.