Multiple news outlets reported Wednesday that President Donald Trump was about to make good on his campaign pledge to pull the United States out of the historic Paris climate agreement—a decision environmental groups said would be “a travesty” and “historic mistake.”
Axios cited “two sources with direct knowledge of the decision,” and an unidentified White House official said to the Associated Press that there could be “caveats in the language” Trump uses to withdraw. Politico adds: “Administration officials cautioned that they are still sorting out the details of how exactly Trump will withdraw, and one noted that nothing is final until an announcement is made.”
Trump offered no conclusive decision on the matter, tweeting Wednesday morning: “I will be announcing my decision on the Paris Accord over the next few days. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
The possibility of withdrawal drew disappointment from world leaders and a harsh rebuke from climate campaigners who say it would not only jeopardize the planet but go against the wishes of the majority of Americans.
According to Friends of the Earth president Erich Pica, if Trump leaves the agreement he “will make the United States the world’s foremost climate villain,” adding that the president “is on a mission to sacrifice our planet to the fossil fuel industry.”
Calling the potential move “a crime against the future of people and the planet,” 350.org executive director May Boeve said the Trump administration “decided to side with fossil fuel billionaires” and “has isolated the United States from the rest of the world and defamed the U.S position as global leader on climate action and much more.”
As Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International, sees it, stepping away from the agreement would be “nothing short of treason, as it places the interests of his petro-dictator pals and Big Oil buddies over the interests of almost all American citizens both present and future.”
While the groups expressed outrage, they also said the expected move would serve to fortify the Trump resistance, and, as Food & Water Watch’s executive director Wenonah Hauter argues, “makes real action on climate at the state and local levels even more critical.”
Adds Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune: “the world should know that state and local action in the United States is moving strongly forward even in the face of Trump’s historic mistake. For every terrible decision, Trump makes, grassroots activists, frontline communities, local governments, and concerned people across the country are fighting to make sure clean energy continues to grow by leaps and bounds.”
McClatchy notes that a “formal withdrawal [from the climate agreement] could take three years.”
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