By David Thornton
The president has put off a decision on whether the US should reject the agreement for several weeks, but CNN, citing two US officials, reports that an announcement that the US will withdraw from the treaty will be made this week.
“I’m hearing from a lot of people both ways,” Trump said, but added that an announcement would be made “very soon.”
The United States “joined” the Paris agreement on September 3, 2016, but the Senate never formally ratified the treaty. White House advisor to Barack Obama, Brian Deese, told the Washington Timesthat the pact was an “executive agreement” that did not require ratification by the Senate.
“That’s a process that is quite well-established in our existing legal system and in the context of international agreements and international arrangements,” Mr. Deese said in August 2016. “There is a category of them that are treaties that require advice and consent from the Senate, but there’s a broad category of executive agreements where the executive can enter into those agreements without that advice and consent.”
USA Today notes that currently only two nations out of 197 are not party to the climate treaty. Syria and Nicaragua are the other two nations that do not honor the treaty. 147 countries have formally ratified the agreement. The agreement requires countries to make “nationally determined contributions” and “strive to formulate and communicate long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies.”
Donald Trump has long been skeptical of the claim that climate change presents a danger to the world. In 2012, Trump tweeted, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” Trump later called the tweet a joke. During the campaign, Trump promised to cancel US participation in the climate agreement.
CNN did caution that the decision on the Paris agreement was not final and that the president was still hearing from advocates on both sides of the issue. In April, Trump made a dramatic reversal on withdrawing the US from NAFTA after signaling his intent to leave the trade pact.
The Paris agreement is unpopular among Republicans with 56 percent favoring withdrawal according to a recent POLITICO/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health poll. Sixty-two percent of the public as a whole supports remaining a party to the agreement.
With a campaign promise on the line and a majority of his base in favor of leaving the pact, the course for Trump, the climate skeptic, seems obvious. Why he’s drawing out the decision-making process is the real covfefe.