President Donald Trump reportedly will withdraw the U.S. from the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, an international deal that committed 195 countries to reduce their carbon emissions to curb the impact of climate change. If the president follows through on his decision, the U.S. would join Nicaragua and Syria as the only holdouts of the accord.
On May 31, two sources within the Trump administration told Axios that Trump had decided to pull the U.S. out of the Paris agreement, asserting that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and selected staff were drafting details of the withdrawal.
It has not been determined whether the U.S. would fully withdraw from the accord over the course of three years or pull out of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Established in 1992, the UNFCCC treaty was the foundation of the Paris Agreement that had been initiated by the Obama administration. If Trump decided to opt out of the treaty, the U.S. would renounce its international commitment to environmental protection, according to the BBC.
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Trump took to social media to announce that his decision on the Paris agreement was imminent.
"I will be announcing my decision on the Paris Accord over the next few days," the president tweeted out. "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"
Trump's purported decision to withdraw from the climate deal was prompted by a letter submitted by 22 Republican senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Within the Trump administration, Pruitt and White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon reportedly urged Trump to withdraw from the Paris agreement. The president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, cautioned him against leaving the deal, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.
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Signed in December 2015, the Paris agreement committed the vast majority of the international community to cutting up to 28 percent of their carbon emission output by 2025. Climate scientists asserted at the time that the goal was still not enough to stave off environmental disaster. The U.S. and China combined account for 45 percent of the world's carbon emissions. While China has pledged to remain committed to the accord regardless of Trump's decision, it is not clear if other countries would walk away without U.S. participation, according to Business Insider.
On April 10, a Morning Consult/Politico poll found that 67 percent of registered voters were concerned about the impact of climate change, including 50 percent of Republican respondents, according to Morning Consult.
Former Undersecretary of State Nick Burns, who served in the Bush administration, expressed alarm over the prospect of the U.S. walking away from the international agreement, asserting that it would be both a blow to the environment and American credibility.
"This would be a colossal mistake," Burns told CNN. "It would also devastate our international credibility. We are one of the two largest carbon emitters, with China. We are the ones who put this deal together. It is the first step to try to do something about climate change. For President Trump to take us out, it is anti-science."